About Abuse

Sexual Assault / Rape

Updated: 
February 17, 2017

What is statutory rape?

Statutory rape is the crime of sex with a minor when the sex is agreed to by both parties, not forced.  The reason why it is considered rape is because the minor is considered to be too young to legally consent to have sex or sexual contact.  The age at which a person is too young to consent to have sex or sexual contact varies by state, and often varies by different crimes.  For example, if an adult has "consensual sex" with a person under the age of 12, that might be rape in the first degree, carrying a heavy sentence.  If an adult has "consensual sex" with a person who is 16 years old, then that might be rape in the third degree and carry a lighter sentence.  Also, for a 16-year-old or 17-year-old victim, the adult may have to be more than 5 or 10 years older than the victim, depending on the state.  However, these are just examples; the rules are very different for every state.  For specific information about the statutory rape laws in your state, you can send us a message on our Email Hotline.

Every state also has laws against sexual acts with minors, aside from sexual intercourse (including physical sexual contact, oral sex, exposing one's genitals, etc.).  For specific information about the laws regarding sexual acts in your state, you can find a lawyer in your state on our Finding a Lawyer page.