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A possible defence could be that one of the partners believed the other to be aged 16 or over.
Guidance from the Scottish Government acknowledges that not every case of sexual activity in under-16s will have child protection concerns, but young people may still be in need of support in relation to their sexual development and relationships. A range of specific offences protect children under 13, who cannot legally give their consent to any form of sexual activity.
RELATED FACTSHEET Sex and the Law, Northern Ireland (PDF) The age of consent to any form of sexual activity is 16 for both men and women.
The age of consent is the same regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of a person and whether the sexual activity is between people of the same or different gender.
This offence was introduced by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (in England and Wales), The Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008, and the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.
It is an offence for someone, male or female, intentionally to penetrate the vagina or anus of another person with a part of their body or anything else, without their consent. Practitioners who legitimately conduct intimate searches or medical examinations are excluded from this offence.
Sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal) and oral sex between young people aged 13–15 are also offences, even if both partners consent.In England and Wales it is an offence to touch someone else with sexual intent if the other person has not consented to such touching and if the person carrying out the offence does not reasonably believe that the other person consented.In Northern Ireland it is an offence (sexual assault) for a person intentionally to touch sexually another person without reasonable belief that they consented.The PSOA gives you a summary document of all account transactions.Last updated April 2015 This factsheet summarises some of the key points of UK law relating to sexual behaviour. This factsheet is not currently available as a PDF.