Young People

Photo of two young women sitting

Young people need access to comprehensive, inclusive and factual information to make informed decisions around: 

Consent and Victorian Law 

The age of consent for sexual interactions in Victoria is 16.  

If you are aged 12-15, a person who you have sex with may be charged with a crime unless you are within 24 months (2 years) of age. 

If you are aged 16-17, you can have sex with somebody who is older than you as long as they're not in a position of authority – like a carer, teacher, employer, or anybody else with authority over you. 

Failure to Disclose law 

In 2014, the law in Victoria was changed to create the failure to disclose offence

The failure to disclose offence applies to you if: 

If this applies to you, you must report the information to police as soon as possible, unless: 

Medical Treatment 

Everybody has the right to confidential medical treatment. All medical treatments that aren’t emergencies need consent (agreement) before they can happen. In Australia there is no minimum age to consent to treatment. The health professional will base this on your ability to understand the advice or treatment.  

It can be helpful to have the support of a trusted adult when thinking about your health. Because of this, your doctor, nurse or counsellor may ask you if there’s anybody you can talk to like a parent, relative or carer who you trust. If there isn’t anybody you want to talk to, you can still give consent. 

 

Privacy  

All the personal and medical information you give a health professional or support worker is confidential, which means nobody else can see it.
This means any personal information you share about things like your sexual history, sexuality, drug or alcohol usage, and relationships will be kept private by law.  

Any exceptions to this will be discussed with you first. 
There are only a few times when doctors, nurses and counsellors may share your health information. This may be needed for a few different reasons, such as informing other health professionals who are looking after you. If your health worker thinks they might not be able to keep your confidentiality they will talk to you about it first. If they make this decision, they will only tell the people who need to know – this is usually a very small number of professional people. 

Mandatory reporting 
If you are under the age of 17, health professionals are required by law to report any reasonable belief that you are at risk of hurting yourself or others, or if you are at risk of harm from someone and are not being protected.  

 

Medicare 

Your Medicare card allows you to access many medical services in Australia with low or no cost. If you were born in Australia, your family probably have a green Medicare card, with your account number and name on it.  

From age 14, no one else can see your Medicare records without your permission – not even your parents, partners or friends. You have your own private records even if you do not have your own card. 

You can get your own Medicare card from age 15. To get your own card, you need to complete an online form and provide some photo identification (such as a passport, birth certificate or driver's license).  

 

My Health Record 

If you are under 18, your parents or guardians may have registered you for a My Health record. Once you turn 14, you can take control of your My Health record by calling the helpline: 1800 723 471. 

 

Finding sexual healthcare 

If you are a young person, or advocating on behalf of a young person, 1800 My Options can help you find appropriate sexual and reproductive healthcare.

Contact us on 1800 696 784 (weekdays 9am – 5pm), or email info@1800myoptions.org.au.

More information: