Lesbian, gay, bisexual people and sexual offences
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Sexual offences

The current law in England and Wales

Sexual Offences Act 2003

The Act, introduced in 2003, applies to sexual offences regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. It makes sexual activity in a public place unlawful if it takes place in an area where other people are likely to see, and introduced a new offence of 'sexual activity in a public lavatory'. It repealed the offences of 'gross indecency' and 'buggery'.

Age of consent

The age of consent refers to the age at which you can legally have sex. In England, Scotland and Wales the age of consent is 16, regardless of your gender or the gender of your partner.

'Sex' means penetrative sex, oral sex or masturbating together.

For further information contact Stonewall's Information Service.