What is A voluntary, formal and legally binding agreement between two people to have a permanent relationship together. There must be a statement in front of official witnesses who register the marriage with the authorities. See also cohabitation; de facto; divorce; domestic relationship.?
Marriage is a Done by your own free will. See also community treatment order (CTO)., Able to be enforced by law. agreement between two people to have a permanent relationship together. For two people to be married, a formal statement must be made in front of official witnesses who register the marriage with the authorities. It is necessary to give one month’s notice of an intended marriage (s 42 Marriage A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation. 1961 (Cth) (‘Marriage Act’)).
When can a young person get married?
In Victoria, people can marry if they are:
- aged 18 or older;
- aged 16 or 17 and they are marrying someone who is 18 or older, and they have a An independent body that hears legal claims brought by parties and decides between them. Serious cases are heard by a judge and jury, or just a judge. Less-serious cases are heard by a magistrate. order allowing the marriage, and their parents or Someone who is legally responsible for taking care of another person or their property. To agree to something being done, to approve an action or arrangement. See also informed consent. to the marriage.*
* See the Marriage Act for who can give consent for Out of marriage; illegitimate. Used to describe a child born of the couple. children, adopted children or where the parents are divorced or dead.
Where a person under the age of 18 seeks a court order giving permission for them to marry, the judge or magistrate must be satisfied that there are ‘exceptional and unusual circumstances’ in order to allow the marriage.
Pregnancy is not a A binding promise made as reassurance that another person will carry out their legal obligations (e.g. paying a debt). The person making the promise is called a guarantor. If the person being guaranteed fails to pay, the guarantor becomes responsible for the debt. of obtaining an order. The court may look at the maturity of the young person, the length of the relationship, their financial situation, and how independent they are. If an order is made, the marriage must take place within three months of that order.
Where parents or guardians have refused to consent to a marriage, an application can be made to a judge or a magistrate, who A document that sets out what a person wants to happen to their money and other property after they die. enquire whether the parents have refused unreasonably (e.g. out of spite). If they have unreasonably refused, the judge or magistrate can make an order allowing the marriage.
Under the Marriage Act, a judge or magistrate cannot hear an application for consent to the marriage unless a certificate is produced to show that the young person has received marriage counselling from a marriage counsellor (s 16(2A)).
When can a young person not get married?
Marriage is not permitted where one person is already married or the two people are close relatives (close relatives are a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister) (s 23).
Age of consent
What is the The age when a young person can legally have sex. In Victoria this is 16.?
The ‘age of consent’ is when a young person can legally have sex. The age of consent for same-sex relationships is the same as for heterosexual relationships. The age at which a young person can legally enter into a sexual relationship varies according to a number of factors. The applicable legal principles were introduced into the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) (‘Crimes Act (Vic)’) by the Crimes (Sexual Offences) Act 2006 (Vic).
Under 12 years old
Children under 12 cannot have sex, or be touched sexually, or A person who can provide direct information based on their own knowledge about a relevant fact, and appears in court to give evidence about it. In some cases a witness may provide an affidavit or deposition setting out their evidence if they are not able to attend court. a sexual act, even if they consent.
12 to 15 years old
Young people aged between 12 and 15 cannot have sex, be touched sexually, or witness a sexual act, by someone who is more than two years older than them, even if they consent. For example, it is not a crime for a 15 year old to have sex with a 17 year old.
16 to 17 years old
The age of consent in Victoria is 16. However, 16 and 17 year olds cannot have sex with, be touched sexually by, or witness a sexual act performed by someone who supervises or cares for them (e.g. a teacher, youth worker, or foster carer), even if they consent, unless the young person is married to the supervisor/carer (ss 45–49 Crimes Act (Vic)).
Incest and family violence
What is incest?
Incest is an act of sexual penetration between close relatives (e.g. between parents and children, or brothers and sisters (ss 50C–E Crimes Act (Vic)). See ‘Incest’ in Chapter 3.3: Sexual offences.
Family violence intervention orders
Under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) (‘FVP Act’), a young person who is a survivor of incest or family violence can apply for a A court order made to protect a family member from violence, intimidation or harassment by restraining a person from harmful or annoying conduct towards that family member. See also intervention order. against the A person who has committed a crime..
To apply for a family violence A court order that prohibits a person harming or harassing another person. See also family violence intervention order;personal safety intervention order., contact the The officer in charge of the administrative section of a court, which is known as the registry. See also prothonotary. at the Children’s Court (www.childrenscourt.vic.gov.au) or at the local Magistrates’ Court (to locate the nearest Magistrates’ Court, visit www.mcv.vic.gov.au/going-court/find-court). Or, contact the police, who can apply for an intervention order on your behalf.
A magistrate can make an interim family violence intervention order if they believe a person is not safe and needs protecting immediately. An A temporary court order that stays in place only until the court can make a final decision on the issue at a full hearing. can be made without the (1) A defendant in a civil case that has been appealed to a higher court. (2) A person against whom some originating motion has been issued by an applicant. See also appellant. (i.e. the offender) being at court or knowing about the order. An interim order can prohibit the offender from coming within 200 metres of where the survivor lives or works.
Under the FVP Act, young people over the age of 14 can apply (with the court’s permission) for an intervention order on their own behalf against a parent or other family member. Or, a third A person or organisation directly involved in a court case. Parties include the plaintiff or applicant, the defendant, and any third party added to the action, but not independent witnesses. can apply for an intervention order on behalf of a young person (with the court’s permission) without parental consent.
A police officer can apply for an interim order after business hours or on the weekend (s 44). In practice, most police applications sought after hours are initiated as safety notices, which only require the approval of a police sergeant and may contain the same conditions as an interim order (s 29). (See also Chapter 4.4: Family violence.)
Young women, in particular, should be aware of the likelihood of a An application to a court by the Department of Human Services (Victoria) for an authorisation to protect a child from harm. If the application is successful the court may authorise the removal of a child from their family, if the child is in danger of harm because the family or other carers are unable or unwilling to protect them. being taken out by the DHHS where they are found to be survivors of incest.
Required by law to be done; a law that must be strictly complied with. Under mandatory reporting, people in particular jobs to tell a government agency if they know an offence is being committed – for example, doctors and teachers must report child abuse. Mandatory sentencing requires judges to give an automatic jail term for certain offences. reporting
Mandatory reporting requirements oblige some professionals (e.g. doctors, nurses, the police and teachers) to report the sexual and physical abuse of children. For more information about the legal requirements of reporting child abuse, contact Victoria Legal Aid or a community legal centre (see Chapter 2.4: Legal services that can help).
Compensation for survivors
Survivors of incest or family violence can (if the A criminal act prohibited by state or commonwealth criminal law. An offence is either a summary offence (minor) or an indictable offence (serious). has been reported to the police) apply to the Victims of Crime Assistance A body set up to hear and decide disputes, usually with less formality and less strict rules of evidence than in a court proceeding. (www.vocat.vic.gov.au) for compensation under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996 (Vic) (see Chapter 10.6: Assistance for victims of crime).
In Victoria, under the Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic) (‘SW Act’), sex workers must be over the age of 18 to work legally. Clients must also be over 18.
It is an A serious crime that is generally heard before a judge and jury in the County Court or the Supreme Court a criminal case. Examples of indictable offences include assault and armed robbery. to cause or induce anyone under 18 to take part in prostitution (s 5), whether as a prostitute or as a client. It is also an indictable offence to receive a payment knowing that it has been derived, directly or indirectly, from sexual services provided by a child (s 6); or to enter into, or The first step in agreeing to make a legally binding agreement. An offer must be accepted before there can be a legally enforceable contract. For example, a person can offer to sell their car for $5000 and a buyer can accept the offer and pay that purchase price. to enter into, an agreement for a child to provide sexual services in return for payment or in exchange for drugs (s 6). There are heavy penalties of 10 to 15 years in jail for anyone involved in child prostitution.
In Victoria, all street sex work is illegal. Under the SW Act (s 13), any person (regardless of age) can be charged with the offence of street prostitution if the police see them soliciting for the purposes of prostitution in a public place. Under section 11A of the SW Act, children over 18 months and under 18 years are not allowed in brothels. The penalty is up to 12 months in jail and/or 120 penalty units.
For more information about sex work, see Chapter 3.4: Sex work.