Legal age difference for dating
Specific laws protect children under 13, who cannot legally give their consent to any form of sexual activity.There is a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for rape and assault by penetration.
This offence was introduced by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (in England and Wales), The Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008, and the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.However, Home Office guidance  is clear that there is no intention to prosecute teenagers under the age of 16 where both mutually agree and where they are of a similar age.It is an offence for a person aged 18 or over to have any sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 if the older person holds a position of trust (for example a teacher or social worker) as such sexual activity is an abuse of the position of trust.This particular sexual offence can only be committed by a man.
A woman cannot be charged with the offence of rape as this is defined as penile penetration, but she could be charged with another offence such as causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent, sexual coercion or assault, or assault by penetration.
There is no defence of mistaken belief about the age of the child, as there is in cases involving 13–15 year olds.