Age of Consent

The age of consent is a legally defined age that limits the actions and behaviors an individual may engage in if younger than the specified age. Age of consent laws are typically understood as specifying the age at which a person is capable of legally agreeing (consenting) to sexual activity. Age of consent laws have long histories. Their enactment and modification over time reflect the ongoing debates over how we define and understand the life stages of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, particularly for females. These laws restrict adults from engaging in sexual activity with minors.

In the United States, federal law does not define who a child or minor is in legal terms. The age a person is considered a minor or child is determined by ...

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