Skip to comments.Drop age of consent to 14, says academic (UK)
Posted on 02/16/2007 8:57:35 PM PST by Lorianne
The legal age of consent should be lowered from 16 to 14 for young people who are less than two years apart in age, according to an academic.
Dr Matthew Waites, a lecturer in sociology at Glasgow University, said criminalising all consensual sexual activity up to 16 was not appropriate.
His comments will be controversial given Britain's high levels of under-age pregnancy and because they follow a damning UN study which showed Britain was the worst place in the developed world to be a child, partly because of early sexual intercourse rates and high teenage pregnancies.
The Unicef report said the UK took bottom place "by a considerable distance" for the number of young people who engaged in risky sex and became pregnant at too early an age.
For 16 out of 17 of the wealthiest countries with the data, between 15 per cent and 28 per cent of young people had had sex by the age of 15. For the UK, the figure was 40 per cent.
But Mr Waites, whose book, The Age of Consent: Young People, Sexuality and Citizenship, is based on a global survey of age of consent laws, said sexual activity under 16 was increasing, so current law clearly did not work.
"The law stigmatises much of what many teenagers regard as normal behaviour and fosters a climate of denial among parents and some professionals which prevents some teenagers from seeking information and assistance," he said.
"The minimum age for sexual activity should be lowered to 14 but supplemented by an 'age span' provision where people aged 14 and 15 would only be able to have sexual activity with a person less than two years older, until 16."
He said age span provisions had never been addressed in depth in UK reviews of sex offences but they existed in at least 43 American states.
Supporters of Dr Waites's position point out that when a teenager's hormones are raging, knowing the age of consent is not a top priority.
Teenagers are already having sexual experiences long before the legal age of consent and the law needs to recognise this to be able to give them proper advice and support to prevent diseases, unwanted pregnancies and abuse, they say. If 14-year-olds are not legally allowed to have sex, it is very difficult to discuss it with them at school, for example.
According to organisations such as the International Child and Youth Care Network, an age of consent of 16 criminalises more than half the teenage population.
Elsewhere in the world, the age of consent varies between the ages of 12 and 21.
Norman Wells, the director of the Family Education Trust, said it would be ''madness" to lower the age of consent.
He added: "To suggest that teenagers are at the mercy of their hormones demonstrates a failure to respect them as rational and responsible people."
A poster I saw in a municipal building in Brazil reminded the reader that sex with children under the age of 12 is against the law.
There was no maximum difference in age specified.
Brazil has ratified the UN Charter on the Rights of the Child, which sets the age of consent for consensual sex at 12 years old.
This charter has failed ratification by the US Senate every year that it has been introduced.
President Klintoon promised to sign it if it was ratified by the Senate.
With a Donkey Congress and a Donkey presidink, ratification of this treaty is much more likely.
Well. That settles it then.
"Brave New World" alert.
With democrats in control, this is going to be insignificant compared to the other evils that they'll bring
When I was 14 I was ready and willing!! At that age I was having lots of sex, I just wanted to try it with another person.....
Yeah, that's gonna clear it up for the kids.
Why are liberals insane ?
So naturally it should be legal for a 40 year old to have sex with a 14 year old.
A dim academic....
This guy will be happy.