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Queensland amends age of consent laws for anal sex

The Queensland parliament has voted to reduce age of consent laws for anal sex to age 16, bringing them into line with all other lawful sex acts in the state. It will also replace the word 'sodomy' with 'anal intercourse' in the Criminal Code to reduce stigma

Health advocates have long called for a change to Queensland’s unequal age of consent laws, saying they contribute to stigma and discrimination, and prevent young gay and bisexual men from accessing sexual health services, for fear of self-incrimination.

Speaking to Star Observer, Executive Director of the Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC), Michael Scott welcomed the reform.

“It is imperative to remove any barrier to access of healthcare for all people. An unequal age of consent has been a barrier to equal access to healthcare.

“We are concerned that with the current inequality of age of consent, young people who are sexually active are reluctant to access sexual health services including HIV and other STI testing and preventative health education for fear of being prosecuted,” Michael Scott said.

Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick said in parliament that he hoped that the amendment to the laws would help address discriminatory attitudes in the community, and increase the health and wellbeing of Queensland's young people.

“The amendments to standardise the age of consent will support the final Sexual Health Strategy by ensuring that young people talk to their health practitioners about safe sexual practices and receive appropriate testing and treatment where needed," he said.

Heath Paynter, AFAO Deputy Chief Executive Officer said that AFAO has long advocated for a change to Queensland's age of consent laws.

“Queensland’s age of consent laws in relation to anal sex were discriminatory and inconsistent with similar laws in other jurisdiction across Australia. The changes announced this week will enable greater uptake of sexual health services by young people in Queensland, which will support efforts to respond to HIV among this demographic.

"This is also a key aim of AFAO’s new national health campaign for young gay and same-sex attracted men, outspoken.org.au."

Source/ further info

Queensland approves changes to age of consent laws for anal sex (Star Observer, 15 September 2016)

Are young gay men really so different?  Considering the HIV health promotion needs of young gay men (AFAO discussion paper, April 2014)

outspoken.org.au (AFAO health promotion campaign, 2016)
 

 

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This page was published on 16 September, 2016