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To Sam

age difference

my friend has started to like a 18yr old (she's 14) he likes her too and to be honest he's a really nice guy and he isn't the type of guy to play girls, I've known him for ages and he is great I'm happy for her but I'm worried too, I'm worried about what they can and can't do what's illegal and what's not, can they kiss and cuddle and stuff (they WONT have sex trust me) but can they have a normal relation ship (kissing, holding hands, cuddling) just no sex without it being illegal, like is it legal for them to do just that. I'm just worried about them both I don't want either of them to get into trouble.

please help x

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

It is normal to be worried that your friend could get into trouble about having a relationship with this 18 year old and although you know him and seem to trust him you are still unsure. The law is there to protect young people (under the age of 16) from being abused. At 18, the guy is classed as an adult and he isn’t allowed to have an intimate relationship with a young person under the age of 16. He is an adult and at 14 your friend is a child. 

An adult should not be having that kind of relationship with a child even if there is only a small age difference. I cannot say anything about them getting into trouble, but it does make me wonder who you think they might get into trouble with and who else knows about their relationship.

You can find lots more information about the age of consent for sex and the law by looking at our pages on sex and relationships.

You sound like a caring friend, and from what you’ve explained you feel concerned about what this relationship could mean for both of your friends. If you’d like to talk about this more, you can always speak to a counsellor at ChildLine. They’re there to listen and support you. They can also be there for your friend and the guy. Perhaps you could suggest they could each contact ChildLine to get some more support with this.

There are lots of myths about sex and the law and I think that your letter will help lots more young people understand what’s legal.

Thanks very much for writing.

Take care,
Sam

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