Last updated 8 June 2016

Sexual relationships

In Queensland, the age of consent for sexual behaviour is 16 years, except for consent for anal sex, which is 18 years.

A person who has sexual intercourse with a child under 16 years commits the offence of carnal knowledge of a child under 16 years. The child’s consent is no defence. It is a defence to the charge if the accused can prove that they believed, on reasonable grounds, that the child was of or above the age of 16 years, provided that the child is actually over the age of 12 years (s 215 Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) (Criminal Code)).

Consensual anal intercourse between adults (18 years or over) is not an offence in Queensland, but it is an offence with a person who is not an adult (s 208 Criminal Code).

It is an offence for a person to indecently deal with a boy or girl under the age of 16 years (s 210 Criminal Code). This would include indecent sexual acts.

It is an offence to sexually assault a person of any age.

Contraception

Legislation regulates the sale, exhibition and advertising of contraceptives in Queensland. Oral contraceptives are only available from a doctor or from a chemist on presentation of a prescription from a doctor.

Some doctors will refuse to give contraceptive advice or prescribe oral contraceptives to unmarried minors without parental consent. However, advice and prescriptions for contraceptives are usually available from offices of the Family Planning Alliance Australia.

In the English case of Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority [1986] AC 112, the court decided that a doctor who prescribed contraceptives to a girl under the age of 16 years did not commit an offence under legislation similar to sections in the Criminal Code. The doctor was charged with encouraging intercourse with a girl under 16 years, and aiding and abetting unlawful sexual intercourse. The court decided that, provided the child was sufficiently mature to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment, the absence of any parental consent did not render the doctor’s conduct unlawful. This English decision is not binding on Australian courts, but it is likely to be followed if a similar question arises in Queensland.