Youth protection laws in Austria

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The youth protection laws ( JSG ) in Austria are regulated at the state level , which serve to protect children and young people in public. In principle, the minimum age for the consumption of tobacco and alcohol as well as the whereabouts and length of stay in public are specified in the laws .

Due to the federal regulation there are nine different versions with some relevant differences. While the laws in the western federal states are rather strict, the Viennese, Lower Austrian and Burgenland laws are rather relaxed. The standardization of the regulations is debated again and again.


The basic rule is that up to the age of 18

  • staying in betting offices, casinos or similar premises is prohibited;
  • Staying in rooms where prostitution or peep shows are offered is prohibited;
  • Gambling and betting are prohibited.

Tobacco consumption is permitted in all federal states from the age of 18 . Sexual contacts are allowed from the age of 14, but up to the age of 16 there is an extended protection against exploitation of an age-related superiority and exploitation of a predicament, as well as protection against prostitution until the age of 18. (→ Sexual abuse of young people )

Going out times

For children and adolescents under the age of 16, different regulations apply in the individual federal states with regard to the maximum time at which they can stay unaccompanied in publicly accessible places (streets, public transport, bars, discos, ...). These blackouts for under 16-year-olds end at 5:00 a.m. in all federal states. In all federal states except Salzburg and Upper Austria, these curfew hours do not apply if the young person is accompanied by an authorized adult guardian.

Since 2017, there are no longer any restrictions on going out times in any of the federal states from the age of 16. Until December 31, 2016, Vorarlberg was the last federal state to have a restriction from 2:00 a.m. for 16- and 17-year-olds.

State (
under 12 years under 14 years over 14 years over 16 years
Styria 21 clock 23 o'clock no
Vorarlberg 22 O `clock 23 o'clock Midnight no
Salzburg 21 clock 10 p.m.
(11 p.m. *)
11 p.m.
(midnight *)
Upper Austria 22 O `clock Midnight no
Vienna ,
Lower Austria ,
Burgenland , Tyrol
22 O `clock 1 O 'clock no
Carinthia 23 o'clock 1 O 'clock no

*) On nights before Sundays and public holidays.


The protection of minors in Austria was relatively complex with regard to alcohol consumption , but was largely standardized. In 2018, the representatives of all federal states agreed to harmonize their youth protection regulations with regard to alcohol consumption by January 1, 2019. In all federal states there are two age limits, whereby when you reach the first only some alcoholic beverages may be consumed. A percentage limit is no longer legally defined. In Carinthia, young people over the age of 16 are only allowed to consume alcoholic beverages up to an amount that the alcohol content of the blood is less than 0.5 g / l (0.5 per mille) or the alcohol content of the breath is less than 0.25 mg / l. Instead, the individual youth protection laws often differentiate between distilled and non-distilled alcoholic beverages. In addition, there are different regulations on consumption before reaching the age limit. The following table (as of February 19, 2019) shows the specific provisions; the year data apply "from the completed year of life":

State (
Ban on consumption before
reaching the
age limit
Styria , Carinthia ,
Upper Austria , Salzburg , Vorarlberg
Burgenland ,
Lower Austria ,
Tyrol , Vienna
in the public

to travel

In Carinthia and Vorarlberg, hitchhiking is forbidden until the age of 14, in Styria until the age of 16. Drivers who invite unfamiliar young people under this age limit to ride along make themselves liable to prosecution. Spending the night away from home without an adult supervisor is only permitted from the 16th birthday in Burgenland, Salzburg and Styria, in Tyrol and Vorarlberg from the fourteenth birthday.

Media harmful to minors

In all nine laws, the “showing, passing on or otherwise making accessible” of media and data carriers that “can endanger the development of young people” is prohibited in a similar - but not identical - formulation. The wording of the Styrian Youth Protection Act differs from the other youth protection laws and instead speaks of "media, services and objects that can endanger children and young people" instead of being dangerous to development. For this purpose, the following three main criteria are listed in all youth protection laws:

  • Glorification of violence
  • Discrimination on the basis of race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, gender, religious belief or disability
  • Varies depending on the federal state: sexual acts, pornography or sexual representation that disregards human dignity

The Salzburg Youth Protection Act differentiates between electronic image carriers such as films and other media or services such as books, audio CDs or phone sex. While electronic image carriers require an explicit age rating, the latter are only restricted in their distribution if they violate one of the mentioned youth risk criteria. In Vorarlberg, the state authority can impose a youth ban for a certain age group.

In addition to the prohibition on making them accessible, most federal states also prohibit children and young people from possessing media and objects that are harmful to young people or from using services that are harmful to young people.

state criteria Prohibited sexual representation Decisive body Graduated age rating Prohibition of possession
Burgenland development endangering Disregarding human dignity not fixed No Yes
Carinthia development endangering pornography Classification Germany, state government Yes No
Lower Austria development endangering Disregarding human dignity not fixed No Yes
Upper Austria development endangering pornography State government No Yes
Salzburg development endangering sexual acts Classification Germany, state government Yes Yes
Styria endangering pornography District administrative authority No Yes
Tyrol development endangering sexual acts not fixed No Yes
Vorarlberg development endangering pornography State authority optional No
Vienna development endangering Disregarding human dignity not fixed No Yes

The currently discussed proposal to standardize the youth protection laws provides for the establishment of a new commission for youth media protection. However, this should not create a new seal of approval , but should be based on the existing, internationally established age ratings PEGI (for games) and FSK (films).

PC and console games

Instead of a ban on certain PC and console games, recommended games are rated by the " Federal Agency for the Positive Rating of Computer and Console Games" (BuPP for short), which is located in the Federal Ministry of Economics, Family and Youth , and published in a database on its own website.

"Good games" in the sense of the BuPP are those that are fun and against which there are no educational concerns. The games recommended by the BuPP rather require the players to have various skills, such as reaction, hand-eye coordination, planning, logic, spatial imagination and orientation, etc., with which these skills are promoted through play.

The Salzburg Youth Act and the Carinthian Youth Protection Act refer to the German Youth Protection Act and require a USK age label for the games. The Vienna Youth Protection Act has been referring to the PEGI system since the 2008 reform and declares PEGI labeling to be mandatory, as is the use of the PEGI age recommendation for commercial distribution of games.

Movie and TV

Legislation and enforcement regarding the age rating of cinema films are regulated differently in the various youth protection laws. In Salzburg, Tyrol and Burgenland, public film screenings in front of minors must be approved by the state government. This can issue graded age ratings. In Vienna and Lower Austria the same rule applies to performances in front of under 16s. Films for which the screening is not approved or for which approval has not been requested can automatically only be viewed from 6pm or 4pm.

In Vorarlberg, Styria and Upper Austria there is no such authorization requirement. The state government can, however, issue age ratings for individual films. In Vorarlberg, the organizer must also publicly announce the age at which he will approve the performance. In Carinthia, the organizer is solely responsible, but must be based on existing approvals (e.g. from the other federal states or the JMK).

This legal framework is now mostly irrelevant, since the individual federal states orient themselves in practice to the recommendations of the Youth Media Commission (JMK), which is based in the Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture . However, this is only active at the request of film distributors, which is why not all films showing in the country have a JMK recommendation. These films are generally approved for ages 16+. There is no known case in the recent past in which a federal state independently examined a film that was not classified by the JMK.

In the case of Blu-rays and DVDs (and subsequently video cassettes ), however, there is no such regulation. Carinthia and Salzburg adopt the graded FSK age rating, which is anchored in the German Youth Protection Act. In the other federal states there is no legal regulation, only the advice of the Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture to pay attention to the FSK approval. The state governments reserve the right to make different decisions (which in fact does not happen).


If the youth protection laws are violated, warnings can be issued, an interview with the youth welfare office can be arranged and, if the person concerned is not accepted, fines of up to 1,000 euros can be due for the young person. The authority can warn accompanying persons and legal guardians or impose an administrative fine of up to 7,260 euros on them. The penalty for people who commit an administrative offense with the intention of making a profit is up to 20,000 euros.


There are exceptions to some paragraphs , which can be seen on the pages of the federal states or the federal government.

historical development

In 1916, ordinances against the "neglect of youth" were issued in Lower Austria (including Vienna), Upper Austria and Styria. While the topics dealt with therein were relatively identical, the provisions differed greatly in some cases. The ordinances contained a ban on smoking in public places, provisions on the supply and consumption of alcohol, access restrictions to restaurants, cinemas, variety shows and night clubs, and in Upper Austria and Styria a ban on "wandering around" at night. While the Upper Austrian ordinance clearly differentiates between minors under 14 years of age and young people between 14 and 17 years of age, such a differentiation cannot be found in Lower Austria and Styria. In Styria, all persons under the age of 16 were referred to as "young people" in the sense of the regulation. The Upper Austrian ordinance permitted the sale of alcohol to young people between 14 and 17, provided this was done for cash and the young person was not already drunk. Upper Austria, on the other hand, banned underage smoking not only in public, but "in all forms". While in Lower and Upper Austria adolescents and children were not allowed to enter a pub unaccompanied until 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. in summer, unaccompanied visits at any time and accompanied visits from 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. were prohibited in Styria. There was also a ban on gambling in Upper Austria; in Styria, the sale of luxury items and toys to young people was prohibited. In 1922, Styria largely aligned its regulations with those of the other countries.

Austria has been organized as a federal state since 1920; the general clause of Article 15, Paragraph 1 of the Federal Constitutional Law (B-VG) made the protection of minors responsible for the federal states. The different forms of youth protection in the federal states were repeatedly discussed as problematic over the coming decades. As early as 1948, at the request of the cinema industry, the Youth Film Commission (JFK) was set up, which recommended that the federal states approve an age rating for films in order to bring them a certain degree of uniformity, and it still exists today as a youth media commission. The harmonization of individual youth protection laws was approached step by step, so Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland agreed in 2001 to jointly develop a largely identical law.

The practical implementation of the law also developed late in some areas. For example, cigarette machines were only technically converted between 2004 and 2007 so that products could only be bought there with ATM cards by people over the age of 16 (the minimum tobacco age at the time).

In November 2012, representatives of all federal states except Tyrol and Vorarlberg agreed in a memorandum on key points that include going out times as well as alcohol and tobacco consumption. The memorandum was supposed to be signed in January 2013, but it ultimately failed when Styria and Upper Austria left.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. a b Mitterlehner: Clear progress achieved in standardizing the protection of minors - press release of April 8, 2011 on
  2. Longer going out times for young people . Article on from December 27, 2016, accessed on July 20, 2017.
  3. Protection of minors: Smoking is prohibited until 6 pm, going out times will be extended (article from April 20, 2018, accessed on January 2, 2019).
  4. a b c Federal Chancellery Austria: Regulations on the statutory protection of children and young people in Austria
  5. ↑ Name the respective legal texts:
    In Burgenland and in Carinthia: beverages that contain distilled alcohol and have an alcohol content of more than 0.5 percent by volume, regardless of whether they are prefabricated or self-made ( § 11 Burgenland Youth Protection Act 2002, § 12 Carinthian Youth Protection Act), Alcoholic beverages distilled in Lower Austria and Upper Austria
    also in the form of mixed drinks ( Section 18 Lower Austria Youth Act, Section 8 Upper Austrian Youth Protection Act 2001), in Salzburg alcoholic beverages distilled in the form of mixed beverages and regardless of whether they are pre-made (e.g. alcopops ) or self-made ( § 36 Salzburg Youth Act), in Styria drinks with distilled alcohol as well as mixed drinks containing spirits, in particular "alcopops" ( § 18 Styrian Youth Protection Act), in Tyrol distilled alcoholic beverages and mixtures containing distilled alcoholic beverages, regardless of this whether they are prefabricated (e.g. alcopops) or s eleven are produced in-house ( § 18 Tyrolean Youth Protection Act 1994), in Vorarlberg and Vienna drinks that contain distilled alcohol ( § 16 Vorarlberg Children and Youth Act, § 11a Vienna Youth Protection Act 2002).
  6. Information about hitchhiking at, accessed on June 9, 2015
  7. Information on overnight stays according to youth protection laws at, accessed on June 9, 2015
  8. Youth protection legislation in Austria on the subject of "media", Federal Agency for the Positive Rating of Computer and Console Games , status: November 28, 2006 ( PDF  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. )@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  9. Styrian Youth Act - StJG 2013
  10. Youth and Media ( Memento of the original from August 28, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. on the homepage of the Federal Ministry of Economics, Family and Youth  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. § 17 Carinthian Youth Protection Act.
  12. Overview of the Youth Protection Act. (No longer available online.) In: Land Tirol. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015 ; accessed on June 8, 2015 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. § 16 Carinthian Youth Protection Act.
  14. ^ Ordinance of the kk. Governor in the Archduchy of Austria under the Enns of June 13, 1916, Pr. Z. 500/3, regarding the issuance of police bans on keeping young people from neglect, LGVBl. 1916/70. In: ALEX Online . Retrieved June 12, 2019 .
  15. ^ Ordinance of the kk. Governor in the Archduchy of Austria ob der Enns from July 14, 1916, regarding police measures against the neglect of the youth, piece XLI - No. 49. In: ALEX Online. Retrieved June 12, 2019 .
  16. ^ Ordinance of the kk. Governor of Styria from April 28, 1916, regarding measures to protect adolescents from neglect, No. 1916/41. In: ALEX Online. Retrieved June 12, 2019 .
  17. ^ Ordinance of the Governor of Styria of August 20, 1922, regarding measures to protect adolescents from neglect, No. 1922/219. In: ALEX Online. Retrieved June 12, 2019 .
  18. ↑ Areas of responsibility, history and organization of the Youth Media Commission. Retrieved June 12, 2019 .
  19. The protection of minors is standardized. Wiener Zeitung, September 20, 2001, accessed on June 12, 2019 .
  20. Automatic protection of minors. November 27, 2006, accessed June 12, 2019 .
  21. Protection of minors should be the same in all countries., November 28, 2012, accessed on February 17, 2013 .
  22. Uniform protection of minors failed again. , March 14, 2013, accessed June 9, 2015 .

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