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If you require assistance or would like to talk to a trained professional about the issues described in this paper, please call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

If you believe a child is in immediate danger call Police on 000. Information is current up to the date of publication.

Sexual interaction that is harmful and abusive between two young people under the legal age can be difficult to identify and determine.

In situations where there is a clear age difference - for example a teenager and a young child - any sexual interaction is sexual abuse, as there is a definite power imbalance.

A child may be willing to engage in sexual behaviour; however, as they do not have the decision-making capacity to give consent according to law, all sexual interactions between an adult and a person under the age of consent are considered abusive (Barbaree & Marshall, 2006).

Such laws effectively determine that children and young people below the age of consent are yet to reach a level of general maturity enabling their safe participation in sexual activities.Although the legal age of consent throughout Australia is either 16 or 17 years of age, legislation in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory makes it an offence for a person in a supervisory role to sexually engage with a person under their special care who is aged 16 or 17 years.A person in a supervisory role providing "special care" may include: a teacher, foster parent, religious official or spiritual leader, a medical practitioner, an employer of the child or a custodial official.Join the community and meet thousands of single men and women looking for love and fun.You can search through the profiles, chat, and message for free all day every day once you become a member.

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