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Empowering teens to have healthy relationships

The Statutory Rape Prevention Project is a program of the Nevada Public Health Foundation in partnership with The Nevada Division of Welfare and Supportive Services. Since its creation in 1999, the Statutory Rape Prevention Project’s mission is to increase the prevention and enforcement of age-gap relationships while promoting awareness about the harmful, lifelong consequences on the victims. By educating our communities, we help teens in Nevada learn how to foster safe, healthy, and happy relationships.

What is statutory rape?

Statutory rape is a crime that involves sexual contact with an individual under the age of consent. There are laws restricting adults from having sexual contact with minors, even if the younger person says “yes.” As a teenager, it might seem like there are a lot of useless or unnecessary rules. While you may not agree with them, you do have to follow them.

Even if you don’t mean to break the law or didn’t know you were breaking the law, you are still held responsible. Understanding these laws will help prevent someone from being a victim of these crimes or becoming a perpetrator.

 

Age of Consent

  • 16 years old: You can say “yes” to consensual sexual acts with someone 16 years or older.
  • 14-15 years old: You can say “yes” to sexual acts with someone less than four years older than yourself.
  • Under 14 years old: You cannot say “yes” or consent to sexual acts with anyone, regardless of the age difference.

 

What is considered a “sexual act”?

Sexual acts include: 

  • Sexual penetration (anal, oral, or vagina penetration with any body part or object) 
  • Feeling someone up
  • Grinding or groping
  • Being naked in front of someone
  • Masturbating in front of someone

 

Why the Statutory Rape Prevention Project is Important

While statutory rape is a problem in every state, it is especially an area of concern in Nevada. To combat this problem, there are various laws in place to protect individuals under the age of consent from perpetrators and inappropriate sexual relationships. 

These age-gap relationships are harmful to adolescents and can have negative long-term consequences. Most minors know the age limits for getting a tattoo, driver’s license, or even voting, but are not typically familiar with Nevada’s statutory rape laws. As students begin dating and exploring their sexuality, it is important to provide them with the proper education in order to prevent statutory rape from occurring.

 

Did you know?

  • In 2002, approximately 13% of females and 5% of males under the age of 18 had experienced statutory rape. (Source)
  • In Nevada, 70% of babies born to teen mothers are fathered by adult men. (Source)
  • Statutory rape victims are more likely to become pregnant, contract a sexually transmitted disease, drop out of school, and experiment with drugs and alcohol. (Source)
  • Evidence supports the need for this type of education due to the increase in teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, dropout rates, drug, and alcohol use, and disrupted development. (Source)

 

Laws that Apply

Note: These laws ONLY apply in Nevada! Other states have different laws. Even if a relationship is legal here, it may not be legal in a different state.

 

Additional Resources

For a list of frequently asked questions, please visit our FAQ page.

For more resources and information, please download our printable Statutory Rape Prevention Project toolkit.