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At what age can females consent to sexual activity? A survey of jury-eligible Australians
journal contributionposted on 2012-01-01, 00:00 authored by Bianca KlettkeBianca Klettke, David MellorDavid Mellor
One suggested reason for the low conviction rates of alleged child sexual abuse offenders relates to the attitudes and beliefs the public hold about such victims; sexual interactions starting at an earlier age; and because the oversexualisation of children and teenagers portrayed in the media may have affected perceptions as to when females are capable ofgiving consent to sexual interactions. A sample of 580 jury-eligible participants completed six implicit questions via an online survey regarding females' capacity to consent. While participants had similar perceptions in response to the type of question asked, there were some differences due to respondent group. When significant differences were observed, women had significantly lower estimates of the age at which female adolescents can make informed decisions about sexual activity than men, as did respondents who had children and were older. Working with children had little impact. The legal implications of these findings are discussed.