The State Legislators’ Handbook for Statutory Rape Issues is designed to help State legislators develop effective and enforceable statutory rape laws that can and will be used to prosecute offenders and prevent occurrences of the crime. This Handbook provides a framework for developing and analyzing legislation that would make sexual intercourse with a minor a crime based on the age of the minor. Its purpose is to assist legislators and policymakers who are amending their statutory rape laws. While each State must determine what laws to pass, this Handbook provides a framework for discussing and considering the issues.

This Handbook begins with background information and a description of what led to its development. Next, specific issues are discussed, including raising the age of consent, age differentials, pregnancy, reporting, and penalties. Then, questions for each issue are offered for legislators and policymakers to consider before drafting new legislation or amending existing law.

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