Age of consent refers to the age below which it is prohibited to engage in sexual activities with a child. The legislators always need to keep a balance between protecting children from sexual abuse and respecting their sexual autonomy while setting the age boundary. In addition, as a legal concept, age of consent is closely related with the construction of childhood and once set, it affects the age at which children engage in sex.
The age of consent legislation in Europe have been revised tremendously in recent years. What are the newest trends of the revision? Do they reflect any legislators' attitudes towards child sexuality and what are they? What values and rationales behind the age of consent legislation should be considered and weighed cautiously? What are the current trends in the timing of young people's first sexual initiation in Europe and how does this timing of their sexual initiation relate to the recent age of consent revision? How does the current age of consent legislation in China relate to the trend identified on European continent when it comes to the characteristics of gender-specificity versus gender-neutrality? In this book these questions are investigated from a multi-disciplinary approach and the reader is granted an insightful yet accessible understanding of these questions.
Guangxing Zhu is an assistant professor at the School of Criminal Justice, China University of Political Science and Law. She received her degree of Ph.D in Law at Tilburg University (The Netherlands, 2018), where she was Ph.D. Fellow at the International Victimology Institute Tilburg (Intervict, Tilburg University). She is the author of various articles on child sexual offence law. Dr. Zhu is also a columnist for several Chinese and English magazines.
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