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The ages of consent in North America for sexual activity vary by jurisdiction. The below is a list of all jurisdictions in North America as listed in List of sovereign states and dependent territories in North America. The ages of consent in the countries of Central America range from 14 to 18.For example, in Indiana the age of consent is 16 but it is illegal for a person over 18 to have sex with anyone under 18 if they work at their school, are their parent or a stepparent, or are a person recruiting them to join the military.
For instance, different ages may apply if the relationship is between partners of the same sex, or if the sexual contact is not strictly vaginal intercourse. The Sexual Offences Act of 1995 raised the age of consent from 14 to 16 years of age. (1) Where a male person has sexual intercourse with a female person who is not his wife with her consent and who has attained the age of fourteen years but has not yet attained the age of sixteen years, he is guilty of an offence, and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for ten years.
Homosexuality was legalized in 1991, but "public homosexuality" is an offense that carries a 20-year jail term without parole. (1) Any person who has unlawful sexual intercourse with any person being of or above fourteen years of age and under sixteen years of age, whether with or without the consent of the person with whom he had unlawful sexual intercourse, is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for life subject to, on a first conviction for the offence, a term of imprisonment of seven years and, in the case of a second or subsequent conviction for the offence, a term of imprisonment of fourteen years. Section 5, part I "Sexual intercourse with person between 14 and 16" of the Sexual Offences Act 1992 (1) Where a person has sexual intercourse with another with the other's consent and that other person has attained the age of 14 but has not yet attained the age of 16 that person is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term of 10 years.
"Every person who, with or without consent, has sexual intercourse with a person who is under the age of fourteen years commits the offence of unlawful sexual intercourse and is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term that is not less than twelve years but may extend to imprisonment for life." "Every person who has unlawful sexual intercourse with a person who is above the age of fourteen years but under the age of sixteen years, commits an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term that is not less than five years but no more than ten years." Age of sexual consent is 16, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender.
Both partners must be of legal age to give consent, although exceptions to the age of consent law exist in some jurisdictions when the minor and his or her partner are within a certain number of years in age or when a minor is married to his/her partner.
Persons below the age of consent may not, by law, give consent, and sexual relations involving such persons may be punished by criminal sanctions similar to those for rape or sexual assault.
A fourteen- or fifteen-year-old can consent to sexual activity with a partner who is less than five years older than they.