Worldwide Ages of Consent

Source: http://www.avert.org/age-of-consent.htm

Introduction

This page provides a brief overview of legal ages of consent worldwide, allowing for an insight into the variations that exist between countries and within countries. However, age of consent laws are usually complex and the legal age of consent listed here may be higher or lower depending on certain conditions. These include but are not limited to: Male or female; anal sex; vaginal sex; partner age difference; a partner that represents a position of authority; variations between state, territory and federal laws; whether partners are married or unmarried. See individual country references for specific conditions that modify the age of consent. Being aware of global variations in the age of consent is important to avoid breaking the law in countries that have laws different to your country of residence.

As this table shows, the age of consent varies significantly between countries, and in a number of cases may be considered to be too low. Sex before the age of 15 years and among partners where there is a large age difference may increase the risk of HIV transmission. (UNAIDS (2010) 'UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic'; UNICEF (2011) 'Opportunity in Crisis: Preventing HIV from early adolescence to young adulthood') Governments can, to some extent, reduce the risk of HIV infection among young people by ensuring the age of consent for sex, and also marriage, is not too low.

A Table showing Worldwide Ages of Consent

This table should only be used as general guide - please read the notes and references at the bottom of this page for more detailed information.

Country Age of consent
Afghanistan -
Albania 14
Algeria -
American Samoa -
Andorra 16
Angola -
Antigua and Barbuda -
Argentina 15
Armenia 16
Aruba -
Australia 16 
Austria -
Azerbaijan -
Bahamas 16
Bahrain 15/ Must be married
Bangladesh -
Barbados -
Belarus 18
Belgium 16
Belize -
Bermuda -
Benin -
Bhutan 18
Bolivia 14 (F)/ 16 (M) Must be married
Bosnia 14
Botswana -
Brazil 16
Brunei 16
Bulgaria -
Burkina Faso -
Burma/Myanmar -
Burundi 18
Cambodia 16
Cameroon 21
Canada3 16
Cape Verde -
Cayman Islands -
Central African Republic -
Chad -
Chile 16
China - Hong Kong 16
Colombia 12 (F)/ 14 (M)
Cook Islands -
Costa Rica 15
Cote d'Ivoire 15
Croatia 14
Cuba -
Cyprus 17
Czech Republic 15
Democratic Republic of the Congo -
Denmark 15
Dijibouti 18
Dominica 16
Dominican Republic 18
Dutch Antilles -
Ecuador -
Egypt 18
El Salvador 18
Equatorial Guinea -
Eritrea -
Estonia 14
Ethiopia -
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) -
Faroe Islands -
Fiji -
Finland 16
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia -
France -
French Guiana -
French Polynesia (Tahiti) -
Gabon 18
Gambia -
Georgia 14
Germany4 14
Ghana -
Gibraltar 16
Greece 15
Greenland -
Grenada -
Guam -
Guadelope -
Guatemala 14 (F)/ 16 (M)
Guernsey -
Guinea 15
Guyana 16
Haiti -
Honduras 15-18
Hungary 14
Iceland 14
India
18
Indonesia 16 (F)/ 19 (M)
Iran -
Iraq -
Ireland 17
Isle of Man -
Israel 16
Italy 14
Jamaica -
Japan 13
Jersey -
Jordan -
Kazakhstan 18
Kenya 16
Kuwait -
Kyrgyzstan 16
Laos -
Latvia 16
Lebanon 15
Lesotho 16 (F)/ 14 (M)
Liberia -
Liechtenstein 14
Lithuania -
Luxembourg -
Madagascar -
Mali -
Malta 18
Malaysia 16
Marshall Islands -
Martinique -
Mauritania 16
Mauritius -
Mexico 12-18
Moldova 14-16
Monaco 15
Mongolia 16
Montenegro -
Morocco -
Mozambique -
Namibia -
Nepal 16
Netherlands -
Netherlands Antilles -
New Caledonia -
New Zealand -
Nicaragua -
Niger -
Nigeria -
North Korea -
Norway 16
Oman Must be married
Pakistan 16 (F)/ 18 (M)
Panama 12 (F)/ 14 (M)
Papua New Guinea -
Paraquay -
Peru 16-18
Philippines 18
Poland -
Portugal 16
Puerto Rico
14
Qatar Must be married
Reunion -
Romania 15
Russia -
Rwanda 18
San Marino -
Saudi Arabia Must be married
Senegal 16
Serbia 18
Seychelles 18
Singapore 16
Slovakia 15
Slovenia 15
Somalia -
South Africa5 16
South Korea -
Spain 13
Sri Lanka 16
St. Kitts and Nevis 16
St. Lucia -
St. Martin -
Sudan 18
Suriname -
Sweden 15
Swaziland 16 (F)/ 14 (M)
Switzerland 16
Syria 13
Taiwan -
Tajikistan 17
Tanzania 18
Thailand -
Togo -
Tonga -
Trinidad & Tobago 16
Tunisia 20
Turkey -
Turkmenistan 16
Tuvalu -
Uganda 18
Ukraine -
United Arab Emirates -
United Kingdom6 16
United States of America 16
Uzbekistan 16
Uruguay -
Vanuatu -
Vatican State
-
Venezuela -
Vietnam -
Western Samoa -
Yemen -
Zambia -
Zimbabwe 16

References

  1. UNAIDS (2010) 'UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic'
  2. UNICEF (2011) 'Opportunity in Crisis: Preventing HIV from early adolescence to young adulthood'
  3. Department of justice Canada (2008) Canadian communities now safer: tougher laws come into force for serious gun crimes and sexual predators
  4. Juris (2010) 'German Criminal Code'
  5. Republic of South Africa (2007) 'Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act (PDF)' Government Gazette
  6. The National Archives (2012) 'Sexual Offences Act 2003'

Notes

Unless specifically referenced, individual country age of consent laws can be accessed through the Interpol reference listed under sources. A [-] symbol indicates a credible reference documenting the age of consent for a particular country is either unavailable or not yet found.