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The age of consent in Illinois

Before engaging in sexual activity, a person must have reached the legal age of consent. If they have not, an older person could be accused of a crime, even if the sexual encounter was consensual and agreed upon by both parties. Those who are too young are not deemed legally able to make this decision.

In Illinois, the age of consent is 17.

In common speech and in other states, a sex crime involving an underage victim may be labelled as statutory rape. Though this may be said unofficially in Illinois, it is worth noting that this is not the legal term that is used under state law.

It is also important to know what consent is legally defined as in the state. For one thing, the agreement has to be freely given, not obtained through the use of force. If a person does not resist, either physically or verbally, that does not count as consent. On top of that, the type of clothes that the person is wearing do not have anything to do with whether or not he or she is agreeing to the sexual act.

Furthermore, it is important to note that Illinois law says that people can withdraw their consent if they so choose, even if they have previously agreed to the act. If they do so, the consent that they gave prior to that withdrawal no longer matters.

If you have been victimized in any way by a sexual assault, regardless of your age or the age of the other party, be sure that you know what legal steps need to be taken.

Source: Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center, "The Law" Dec. 17, 2014

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