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DATING IN THE DIGITAL AGE – NAVIGATING THE AGE OF CONSENT

Dating in the digital age is already fraught with difficulties. It can often mean that without a guarantee as to the accuracy of a person’s age, a casual fling could unknowingly turn illegal. Although most dating applications require the person signing up to agree that they are at least 18 years of age, unfortunately, this declaration may not be legally binding as proof of the person’s age and whether they are old enough to consent.

The age of consent (in most circumstances) in Western Australia is 16 years of age. The age of consent increases to 18 years of age in cases where one party is in a position of authority. Such circumstances could include teacher/student or employer/employee scenarios, where the other party is under 18 years of age. Having a sexual relationship with someone younger than the legal age of consent is illegal and can be prosecuted in the District Court of Western Australia.

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