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Guidance from the Scottish Government acknowledges that not every case of sexual activity in under-16s will have child protection concerns, but young people may still be in need of support in relation to their sexual development and relationships. A range of specific offences protect children under 13, who cannot legally give their consent to any form of sexual activity.The maximum penalty could be life imprisonment for rape, sexual assault, sexual assault by penetration, or causing a young child to participate in sexual activity.
Article 79 of The Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 amended “relevant offence” for section 5(1) of the Criminal Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1967 to exclude the duty to report information about the commission of an offence under Article 20.
The age of consent is the same regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of a person and whether the sexual activity is between people of the same or different gender.
It is an offence for anyone to have any sexual activity with a person under the age of 16.
However, Home Office guidance  is clear that there is no intention to prosecute teenagers under the age of 16 where both mutually agree and where they are of a similar age.
It is an offence for a person aged 18 or over to have any sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 if the older person holds a position of trust (for example a teacher or social worker) as such sexual activity is an abuse of the position of trust.