(07) 3124 7160‬ mail@lgbtilegalservice.org
Categories
< All Topics
You are here:
Print

Queensland has strict laws about sex and sexual activity.

Any sexual activity without your agreement is unlawful. If you do not agree and someone threatens you or touches you sexually, they are breaking the law.

The legal age for consent for having sex in Queensland is 16. This strict age limit is in place to help protect you from harm. It is unlawful to engage in any sexual activities if you are under 16.

If you are 16 or over, you can have any sort of consensual sex without breaking the law—if you and your sexual partner both are capable of consenting, and both of you are over 16.

If someone tries to have sex with you without your agreement this may be considered sexual assault or rape and you should report it to the police. You can also get support from a range of sexual assault support services.

In our digital age, it is easy for pictures and information to be spread quickly using technology. Sexting and other online sexual activities may expose you to risk or be considered a criminal offence, especially when it involves young people and children.

 

When can I have sex?

Strict age limits apply for when you can legally have sex. These apply to people in same-sex and heterosexual relationships, and are designed to protect you from harm from older people.

These laws apply to a range of sexual activities including:

  • sexual penetration—including anything that involved a penis penetrating a vagina, anus or mouth.
  • penetrating a vagina or anus with an object or another part of the body.
  • touching a person in a sexual way—like touching another person’s vagina, penis, bottom or breasts.

 

Under 16

If you are under 16, it is unlawful for anyone to have sex with you, touch you sexually, perform a sexual act in front of you, or get you to perform a sexual act on them—even if you agree. This includes:

  • touching you on the genitals, buttocks or breasts, or somewhere else in a sexual way.
  • exposing their private parts to you.
  • taking inappropriate photos of you.

It is also unlawful for anyone (either male or female) to have anal sex if either or both you are under 16.

If the police or Child Safety Services think you are at risk of harm because of your sexual behaviour they may apply for a Court Order so you can be placed in the care and protection of Child Safety Services.

There are some other situations where sexual activity with a person is considered to be even more serious. These include if:

  • you are under 12 years of age.
  • you are related to the person.
  • they were your guardian.
  • you were meant to be in their care (like a foster carer or teacher).
  • you are intellectually disabled.

 

16 and over

If you are 16 or older, you can have sex with another person anyone else who is 16 or over without breaking the law—if you both agree, and are both capable of consenting—unless you are related to them or under their care. This also applies to same-sex couples.

 

Incest

No member of your family is allowed to have sex with you—it is a serious criminal offence called incest.

‘Family’ includes:

  • parents
  • step-parents
  • parent’s partner
  • grandparents
  • brothers
  • sisters
  • half-sisters
  • half-brothers
  • adopted brothers
  • adopted sisters
  • uncles
  • aunts
  • nephews
  • nieces

It is still incest even if the person is not related to you by blood.

Incest is illegal even if you both consent to it. If you are forced to take part against your will, you will not have broken the law—only the person who forces you to have sex or be involved in any sexual activity.

 

Taking care of yourself when having sex

The law recognises that people are curious about their sexuality and may want to explore this with people they like. Having sex is a big step, and it is important you feel in control and able make decisions that are right for you.

Before having sex you may want to get advice from someone you trust. Talk to your doctor or a family planning clinic about contraception and sexually transmissible infections (STI).  Having safe sex is very important in reducing the risk of unplanned pregnancies, or getting an STI (like chlamydia) or blood borne viruses like HIV.

 

Sexual assault and rape

If you have been sexually assaulted, and you want to make a complaint, you should report it to the police as soon as possible.

If someone has sex with you or touches you sexually—and you do not agree—they are breaking the law and can be charged with a criminal offence. This applies even if you started having sex or agreed to be touched sexually but then changed your mind. If someone forces you to do something grossly indecent, or to witness something grossly indecent, then they may also be breaking the law and may be charged with a criminal offence.

Forced sexual activity is a criminal offence whether the person who hurts you is someone you know or a stranger. It is a criminal offence for a teacher, relative or someone who is looking after you to touch you in sexual way or have sex with you.

Rape is:

  • when a person has sex with another person without the other person’s consent, or
  • when a person penetrates the vulva, vagina, or anus of the other person with a thing or part of the person’s body that is not a penis without the other person’s consent, or
  • when a person penetrates the mouth of other person to any extent with the person’s penis without the other person’s consent.

 

Sexual assault is never your fault

If you believe this has happened to you, and you want to make a complaint it is important that you report it to someone as soon as possible. If you need someone to talk to, you can contact:

 

Sexting and sharing photos online

In our digital age, it is easy for pictures and information to be quickly spread using technology like smartphones. Sexting and sending pictures via digital technology may expose you to risk or be can be a criminal offence.

 

Prostitution and sex workers

There are specific laws covering prostitutes and other sex workers and their clients. Prostitution in licensed brothels is legal in Queensland, but street prostitution is illegal.

It is against the law to:

  • publicly offer someone sex for money or money for sex.
  • accept the offer.
  • operate a brothel without a proper license.

enter or leave a brothel that is not properly licensed.

 

Disclaimer: The material presented on this website is an information source only. The information on this website is written for people resident in, or affected by the laws of Queensland, Australia only. Links to other sites from this website are provided for the users’ convenience. The LGBTI Legal Service does not endorse these sites and is not responsible for the information on these sites or the use made of this information. If you have a specific legal problem, you should consult a professional legal advisor.

Previous Family breakdown
Next Annulments
Table of Contents