Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Sexual Abuse vs Sexual Freedom? A Legal Approach to the Age of Sexual Consent in Adolescents in Spanish-Speaking Countries

Version 1 : Received: 9 August 2021 / Approved: 11 August 2021 / Online: 11 August 2021 (10:29:19 CEST)

How to cite: Parra-Barrera, S.M.; Sánchez-Fuentes, M.D.M.; Fuertes-Iglesias, C.; Boldova, M.Á. Sexual Abuse vs Sexual Freedom? A Legal Approach to the Age of Sexual Consent in Adolescents in Spanish-Speaking Countries. Preprints 2021, 2021080245 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202108.0245.v1). Parra-Barrera, S.M.; Sánchez-Fuentes, M.D.M.; Fuertes-Iglesias, C.; Boldova, M.Á. Sexual Abuse vs Sexual Freedom? A Legal Approach to the Age of Sexual Consent in Adolescents in Spanish-Speaking Countries. Preprints 2021, 2021080245 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202108.0245.v1).

Abstract

Child and adolescent sexual abuse (CSA) is an international public health problem. Despite the importance of the CSA, there is no consensus definition, and the lack of consensus is related to difficulties in conducting prevalence studies, as well as research in other areas. To establish a consensual definition, legal aspects such as the age of sexual consent and the difference in age or power between victim and aggressor, aspects related to sexual freedom and sexual indemnity must be considered. Therefore, the main goal of this research was to analyze the age of sexual consent in the legal systems of Spanish-speaking countries and to examine whether the Romeo and Juliet clause is established. To achieve the proposed aims, we employed the legal interpretation method, and we analyzed the current Criminal Codes of the 21 Spanish-speaking countries. From the results, it is found that the age of sexual consent varies between countries, establishing valid sexual consent between 13 and 18 years. In addition, only six countries have the Romeo and Juliet clause that protects sexual freedom in adolescents. Finally, we discussed the lack of consensus on the age of sexual consent and the limitations presented by the Romeo and Juliet clause.

Keywords

child sexual abuse; age of sexual consent; Romeo and Juliet clause; sexual freedom; sexual indemnity; comparative law.

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