Legal Age for Sex in Singapore and Common Sexual Offences
The legal age to have sex in Singapore is 16 years old. This means that it is a punishable offence to have sex (whether vaginal, oral or anal) with persons below 16 years old, as stated in section 376A of the Singapore Penal Code.
The genders of the parties does not matter. It also does not matter whether the minor had consented to having sex.
A person found guilty of having underage sex can be fined and/or jailed for up to 10 years. If the minor was below 14 years old, the offender can be jailed up to 20 years, and either fined or caned.
If the parties were of the opposite sex but the girl was under 14, the man can be convicted of rape instead (see below).
What If You Didn’t Know Your Partner was a Minor?
Section 377D of the Penal Code states that:
- Offenders above 21 years old cannot claim that they mistakenly believed the person was not underage as a defence.
- Offenders below 21 years old may claim that they mistakenly believed the person was not underage as a defence. However, this is only if that person is of the opposite sex, and if the offender has not committed any similar sexual offences before.
Under section 375 of the Penal Code, a man will be guilty of rape if he has vaginal sex with:
- Any woman without her consent; or
- A girl under 14 years old, regardless of whether she had given her consent.
If the girl was between 14 and 16 years old, the man (regardless of age) can be found guilty of rape only if he had sex with her without her consent. If the sex was consensual, then the man can only be found guilty of having sex with a minor under 16 years old (as discussed above).
Sexual Assault by Penetration
Women cannot technically commit “rape” as the rape provision (i.e. section 375 of the Penal Code) applies only to male offenders. However, they can be convicted for sexual assault by penetration under section 376 of the Penal Code if they use a part of their body (or an object) to penetrate another person’s vagina or anus without that person’s consent.
Men also cannot technically “rape” male victims as the rape provision applies only to female victims. However, they can similarly be convicted of sexual assault by penetration if they have oral or anal sex with another male without his consent.
Molest (Outrage of Modesty)
Molest is prosecuted as the offence of outrage of modesty in Singapore when it involves criminal force, pursuant to section 354 of the Penal Code.
We have another article with more information on the offence of outrage of modesty in Singapore.
Sexual grooming occurs when an offender on or above 21 years old meets another person under 16 years old with the intention of having sex, where the offender had previously met or communicated with him/her at least 2 times.
Commercial Sex with Minors
Commercial sex (i.e. paying for sex) with persons under 18 years old is a punishable offence under section 376B of the Penal Code.
Under section 376C of the Penal Code, Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents who engage in commercial sex with persons under 18 will still be liable even if the acts were done outside of Singapore.
Sending sexually suggestive messages to a person under 16 year old may result in a prosecution under section 7 of the Children and Young Persons Act or section 76E of the Penal Code.
Read our other article for more information on the laws on sexting in Singapore.
Other Sexual Offences
The following are also punishable offences in Singapore:
- Intercourse between men
- Incest, i.e. sex with family members
- Necrophilia, i.e. sex with corpses
- Bestiality, i.e. sex with animals
- Child prostitution
- Child pornography
- Sexual harassment
The quantum of punishment for each respective sexual offence, such as the length of imprisonment or sum of fine, can be found in the Penal Code under the relevant sections for each offence.
However, the exact punishment that will be handed down by the judge will depend on the nature of the offence committed. We have more information on the sentencing framework for sexual offences in Singapore in another article.
If you have been charged with a sexual offence and are looking for a lawyer to represent you, feel free to get in touch with one of our trusted criminal defence lawyers.
- Police Investigation Process in Singapore
- When Can the Police Arrest Someone?: Arrestable and Non-Arrestable Offences in Singapore
- Police Arrest Procedure in Singapore
- Can a Civilian Arrest a Criminal in Singapore?
- Is lying to the police or authorities a punishable offence in Singapore?
- Surrender of Passport to the Police and How to Get It Back
- What to Do If You’re Being Investigated for a Criminal Offence in Singapore
- Can You Say No to a Lie Detector Test in Singapore? And Other FAQs
- Do You Have a "Right to Remain Silent" to the Police in Singapore?
- The Extradition Act: What If You Commit a Crime and Flee Singapore?
- Warrant of Arrest: What to Do If It is Issued Against You in Singapore
- Criminal Compensation in Singapore
- What Can I Do to Protect Myself in Self-Defence in Singapore?
- Claiming Trial as an Accused
- Mitigation Plea
- Pleading Guilty
- Criminal Appeals in Singapore
- Presidential Clemency in Singapore
- Probation in Singapore: Are You Eligible? Will You Have a Criminal Record?
- What Should You Do If You Witness a Crime in Singapore?
- Reformative Training in Singapore: When will it be Ordered?
- Visiting a Loved One in Prison (And on Death Row) in Singapore
- 7 Detention Orders in Singapore and When Will They be Ordered?
- Consequences of Receiving a Stern Warning in Singapore
- Are You Eligible for a Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO)?
- Can I Represent Myself in a Criminal Court Case in Singapore and How?
- Caning in Singapore: Judicial, School & Parental Corporal Punishment
- Is it illegal to visit prostitutes in Singapore?
- Is Watching, Downloading or Filming Porn Illegal in Singapore?
- Singapore's Drug Laws: Possession, Consumption and Trafficking
- When is Gambling Illegal in Singapore?
- Is Vaping Illegal in Singapore?
- DUI: Here are the Penalties for Drink-Driving in Singapore
- Legal Drinking Age in Singapore and Other Drinking-Related Laws
- Smoking in Singapore: Legal Age and Penalties for Illegal Smoking
- The Difference Between Murder and Culpable Homicide in Singapore
- Is it illegal to commit suicide in Singapore? Will I be punished if my attempt at suicide fails?
- Is it illegal to feed stray animals in Singapore?
- Criminal Intimidation: Penalties for Making Threats in Singapore
- What are Sham Marriages and are They Illegal in Singapore?
- Public Assemblies and Processions in Singapore: Police Permits and the Public Order Act
- What is the Offence of Rioting?
- Penalties for Voluntarily Causing Hurt in Singapore (Non-Arrestable)
- Misbehaving in Public: 5 Things You Need to Know
- Is it Legal for Drivers to Carpool in Singapore?
- Complete Guide to E-Scooter and PMD Laws for Singapore Riders
- Is Joining a Gang Illegal in Singapore?: Being Recruited and Penalties
- What Happens If You’re Caught Speeding in Singapore?
- Charged with a Traffic Offence in Singapore: What to Do
- Committing Theft in Singapore: What are the Penalties?
- Road Rage: What is It and How are Offenders Sentenced in Singapore
- Singapore Fake News Laws: Guide to POFMA (Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act)
- Laws and Penalties for Doxxing in Singapore (With Examples)
- Littering and Killer Litter Offences: Here are the Penalties in Singapore
- Organised Crimes: Penalties/Orders Syndicates Face in Singapore
- Animal Abuse/Cruelty in Singapore: Here are the Offences & Penalties