There are specific child sexual assault offences. Sexual offences legislation should include specific child sexual assault offences, including penetrative and non-penetrative sexual offences.
Children and young people face particular vulnerabilities to sexual abuse and exploitation due to their age, their social status and their dependency on adults. Good practice laws must criminalise specific penetrative and non-penetrative sexual offences against all children and young people, including for example, rape, sexual assault, including touching and groping or other contact of a sexual nature, as well as grooming and sexual communication with a child. Other specific child offences that are not addressed in this research should also be explicitly provided for, including child sexual exploitation, trafficking, persistent child sexual abuse, FGM and voyeurism.
The legislation must provide appropriate close-in-age defences or exceptions for consensual sexual activity between young people when one or both of them is under the age of consent and they are close-in-age. However, this defence should be excluded if there is a relationship of trust, authority or dependency between the child and the other person, or any other coercion, exploitation or pressure of the child.