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A sexual assault involves sexual contact or intercourse without consent

While it is legal to have consensual sex with a child who has reached the age of 16 in QLD, some sex acts with minors violate the law

Consenting adults are usually free to enter into a sexual relationship without violating Queensland laws. When a sexual act involves a child, a family member, payment for services, lack of consent, or invasion of privacy, criminal offences might be charged.

Any person who is charged with a sex offence should consult with a lawyer. This guide to Australian sex laws involving minors is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Only a lawyer can provide legal advice.

Age-Related Offences

It is illegal to have anal intercourse with a person who is under the age of 18. Otherwise, minors who have reached the age of 16 can legally consent to have sex with a person of any age or gender.

It is illegal to have any form of sexual contact with a person who is under the age of 16, whether or not the child consents to the contact. Sexual contact includes intercourse as well as touching genitals, buttocks, and female breasts.

It is also illegal to do any of the following with a person under the age of 16:

  • Touching yourself or someone else sexually in front of the child.
  • Viewing the child’s private parts.
  • Taking sexual pictures of the child or allowing the child to take sexual pictures of you.

Penalties are more severe if any of the following are true:

  • The child is under the age of 12.
  • The child is mentally disabled.
  • The accused is closely related to the child.
  • The accused is the child’s guardian.
  • The accused has care the child (for example, a teacher or care provider).

Individuals who are related to the child do not necessarily need to be related by blood. Incest laws in Queensland prohibit sexual relations with step-parents, a parent’s partner, and half-siblings, as well as blood relatives. The restrictions do not apply to cousins or other more distant relatives.

Sexual Assault

A sexual assault involves sexual contact or intercourse without consent. Children under the age of 16 can never give legal consent, but after a child has reached the age of 16, consent must be provided voluntarily and knowingly before it is legal to have sex with the minor.

Forcing someone to have sex is a sexual assault, but so is having sex with a person who is unconscious or too drunk to know what is happening. When sexual contact begins with a minor’s consent but the minor later says “no,” continuing to have sexual contact is a sexual assault.


Prostitution in Queensland is regulated by law. Licensed brothels may employ adult sex workers, but it is illegal to do any of the following:

  • Publicly exchange sex for money.
  • Publicly offer to provide money to someone in exchange for sex.
  • Enter a brothel that is not properly licensed.
  • Operate an unlicensed brothel.

A minor who has reached the age of 16 cannot be prosecuted for exchanging sex for money in a private place, provided the minor requires the use of a condom and no other sex worker uses that same place to provide services to clients. On the other hand, it is illegal to exchange money for sex if the person making the payment knows that sex is being provided by someone who has not reached the age of 18.


Sexting means sending photos or videos to someone else if the photos or videos show exposed genitals, buttocks, female breasts, sexual activity, or a sexual pose. In addition to attaching the images or videos to a text message, sexting includes sending them by email, providing them to others in a chat room, or posting them on the internet.

Sexting is illegal if the person shown in the photo or video is (or appears to be) under the age of 18. Even if you send your own image, sexting is illegal in Queensland.

Possessing images of a child who is naked or partially naked is also illegal in Queensland. You can be charged with that crime even if you are a child, provided you are at least 10 years old.

You can avoid committing a crime by immediately deleting illegal photos or videos as soon as they are sent to you. Forwarding the images to someone else rather than deleting them could result in a criminal prosecution.

Legal Advice

Any sex offence involving a minor is taken seriously in Queensland. You should get legal advice if you have been accused, questioned, or arrested for a sex offence.

You should not agree to be questioned until you have spoken to a lawyer. If you are a minor, you should also refuse to answer questions until you have spoken to your parents. The police cannot punish you for exercising those rights.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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