01-07-2020 08:18 PM
Does anyone know what the law says when children are over the age of consent (17) but you believe they have been groomed by a much older adult for their sexual benefit?
01-07-2020 09:54 PM
I am sorry to hear that you are in such a difficult position at the moment. It can be incredibly distressing and upsetting when our children are engaging in risky or potentially dangerous behaviour. It can feel even worse if our intuition is telling us that our child is not fully consenting to said behaviour.
In terms of advice I really strongly recommend that you contact either Kids HelpLine, or ParentLine. Both of these telephone counselling services have highly experienced counsellors available 7 days a week. These counsellors have immense knowledge, both legal and support focused, and will be able to give you advice on how to handle the situation, how to talk to your daughter about the situation, and what to do next.
01-08-2020 01:45 PM
Hi @SoniaP ,
I just thought I would offer a bit additional information for you about your concerns about your 17 year old. I can imagine that it must be incredibly concerning as a parent to see your child in a relationship like this.
In terms of the legalities, these do differ depending on what state you're in, as far as the age of consent, and consensual relationships where there's a large age difference and/or power imbalance.
I've taken the information below from this website, which gives a really good outline of the different legal situations in different states in Australia regarding the age of consent https://yla.org.au/nsw/topics/health-love-and-sex/sex/
"For example, In NSW, the age of consent is 16. If you are 16 years old, another person can have sex with you if you agree to it (unless they are your carer or supervisor)... some examples of people who are in a position of care or supervision over you would include your teacher, sports coach, youth worker, counsellor, foster carer, religious instructor, health professional, or police officer."
So in short, if the person your daughter involved with isn't in one of those roles, it may not be illegal.
However, I would also encourage you to look at material on 1800 RESPECT, which talks about consent, and relationships which may be potentially abusive, and see if any of the behaviours that they talk about there resonate with you. There are trained counsellors available on the phone line ( who may be able to offer you specific advice based on the behaviours you're concerned about.
Another excellent resource to get support and advice from regarding the exact behaviours you are witnessing in the relationship may be the child protection helpline in your state.
You sound like an excellent parent, and I imagine it must be a very difficult situation for you. We are here for support, and there are other parents who may well have been in similar situation with their teenage children.
01-08-2020 02:42 PM
You're welcome, please feel free to come back here any time if you need more advice or support, and keep us updated on how you're going. I hope all goes well with your daughter.