A comparison of the gender-specificity of age of consent legislation in Europe and China: Towards a gender-neutral age of consent in China

Guangxing Zhu, Suzanne van der Aa

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Abstract

Age of consent—the age at which young people are considered legally competent to consent to sexual activities—is an important weapon invented by law makers to protect young children from being sexually abused and exploited by predatory adults. In this study, a comparison of the age of consent legislation in 2004 and 2016 in Europe reveals that it is a trend for European law makers to adopt a gender-neutral approach in their age of consent legislation, i.e., the gender of the sexual participants does not affect the legal consequence of the sexual activity and both male and female children, either in heterosexual or homosexual relations, enjoy protection to the same extent. Then the age of consent legislation in China is deeply examined to see whether it is gender-neutral as most of the European jurisdictions. Based on the previous introduction and analysis of Europe and China, this paper concludes that the gender-neutral trend identified in Europe could be instructive for China’s future age of consent legislation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-537
JournalEuropean Journal on Criminal Policy and Research
Volume23
Issue number4
Early online date12 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2017

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legislation
China
gender
European Law
trend
homosexuality
weapon
jurisdiction
Law

Keywords

  • Age of consent
  • Gender-neutral
  • Gender-specific
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Childhood
  • Chinese criminal law

Cite this

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abstract = "Age of consent—the age at which young people are considered legally competent to consent to sexual activities—is an important weapon invented by law makers to protect young children from being sexually abused and exploited by predatory adults. In this study, a comparison of the age of consent legislation in 2004 and 2016 in Europe reveals that it is a trend for European law makers to adopt a gender-neutral approach in their age of consent legislation, i.e., the gender of the sexual participants does not affect the legal consequence of the sexual activity and both male and female children, either in heterosexual or homosexual relations, enjoy protection to the same extent. Then the age of consent legislation in China is deeply examined to see whether it is gender-neutral as most of the European jurisdictions. Based on the previous introduction and analysis of Europe and China, this paper concludes that the gender-neutral trend identified in Europe could be instructive for China’s future age of consent legislation.",
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A comparison of the gender-specificity of age of consent legislation in Europe and China : Towards a gender-neutral age of consent in China. / Zhu, Guangxing; van der Aa, Suzanne.

In: European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, Vol. 23, No. 4, 12.08.2017, p. 523-537.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AB - Age of consent—the age at which young people are considered legally competent to consent to sexual activities—is an important weapon invented by law makers to protect young children from being sexually abused and exploited by predatory adults. In this study, a comparison of the age of consent legislation in 2004 and 2016 in Europe reveals that it is a trend for European law makers to adopt a gender-neutral approach in their age of consent legislation, i.e., the gender of the sexual participants does not affect the legal consequence of the sexual activity and both male and female children, either in heterosexual or homosexual relations, enjoy protection to the same extent. Then the age of consent legislation in China is deeply examined to see whether it is gender-neutral as most of the European jurisdictions. Based on the previous introduction and analysis of Europe and China, this paper concludes that the gender-neutral trend identified in Europe could be instructive for China’s future age of consent legislation.

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