Is it legal to have a non-sexual relationship with a minor?

Question Details: Is it legal for there to be a relationship between an adult and someone who is under 16?

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Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

The law in New Zealand does not totally prohibit someone who is under the age of sixteen engaging in a non-sexual relationship with an adult.

However, it is important to note that the law in New Zealand DOES prohibit adults from engaging in "indecent acts" with someone under 16. An "indecent act" is one that, given the “time, place and circumstances”, would be considered indecent by “right minded persons” and is such as to “warrant the sanction of the law”. Generally, an "indecent act" would be of a sexual nature, but does not necessarily have to be sexual to be considered "indecent".

Furthermore, it is an offence to meet, arrange to meet, travel with the intention to meet, or convince a minor to do the same, if you have the intention to commit an "indecent act". More commonly, this offence is known as "grooming".

More generally, the law says that when a person turns 16, they can legally consent to sexual activity, both heterosexual and homosexual. Turning 16 also brings with it other rights - click on the following link for more information about legal ages: www.communitylaw.org.nz

Answered 25 Jul 2013. The IMPORTANT NOTICE below is part of this answer.

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