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To Not Understand the Sexual laws in the UK?

(41 Posts)
RubyFakeNails Mon 24-Sep-12 19:25:16

Based on but not about the thread on the 15 year old who has recently run away/been abducted to France with her teacher.

There seems to be lots of contradictory information going on, and I just cannot get my head around it. Are the laws around sexual relationships and age of consent really all that complicated?

For example, it has been said that if a girl who is under 16, has a sexual relationship with an adult man (am thinking over 18 as from what it seems its all different again if he is under 18 but over 16) it is automatically considered rape because under 16s cannot legally consent. Is this true?

I was having sex way before 16 and on occasion with men over 18, I would happily testify to this day I was not raped, taken advantage of etc, but would the law still feel differently?

Iamjezabel Mon 24-Sep-12 19:34:31

Yes. The same as if you were very drunk and a man had sex with you, it would be considered rape because you were not able to give consent. a person under 16 can not consent.
Its very difficult to prosecute though without the cooperation of the underage girl.

anditwasallyellow Mon 24-Sep-12 19:36:11

I8t's under 13s that cannot consent so making it rape, over 13 but under 16 is sex with a minor so still a criminal offence but not rape by law.

Iamjezabel Mon 24-Sep-12 19:36:38

Its not that difficult. You said it yourself, under 16s can not consent and, tbh, just because you did it doesn't make it ok. I say that as someone whose boyfriend was 26 when I was 15. I would not have considered it rape at the time. But now it makes me feel sick to think about him. He groomed me into thinking I wanted to.

Iamjezabel Mon 24-Sep-12 19:37:39

Is it not called stautory rape anymore?

Bunbaker Mon 24-Sep-12 19:39:43

"Is it not called statutory rape anymore?"

I think that's what they call it in the US.

monsterchild Mon 24-Sep-12 19:40:39

I think it's called statutory rape when its per se rape (ie, age difference of the parties, mental condition of the victim).

But the penalties may be listed as criminal sexual conduct.

scaevola Mon 24-Sep-12 19:41:24

It never has been called statutory rape in UK law.

It is an offence to have sex (various acts specified) with someone under 16. The precise offence will depend to on the circumstances (including age of both parties). The sentencing guidelines give greater penalties to offences against people under 13.

londonone Mon 24-Sep-12 19:43:00

Yellow is right, Jezebel is wrong

Mrsbiggs Mon 24-Sep-12 19:46:10

Between 14 and 16 is considered a "grey area".

It is illegal for a male to sleep with a female who is under age.

Where it is consensual and the age gap is less than 4 yrs it is unlikely there would ever be a prosecution - even if the girls parents pushed for it.

Sex with anyone under 13 is rape.

I run a sexual health centre for teens.

RubyFakeNails Mon 24-Sep-12 19:49:23

It just seems so bizarre to me, I think I'm getting hung up on the phrase 'cannot consent' because obviously you can its more that the consent appears to be invalid.

Also I suppose I'm asking not just what the law is but if you actually agree with it?

PanofOlympus Mon 24-Sep-12 19:50:29

fwiw the laws around sexual misconduct are fairly clear - the 2003 Act collected together a whole host of other Acts, going back to 1936.

The more significant issue is 'how they are applied'. The case of the teacher and 15 yo girl is a 'good case' that demonstrates how tricky, and poss not in the 'best interest of the victim, it can be to apply them.

MrSunshine Mon 24-Sep-12 19:51:08

Its not difficult. If you are a child you cannot consent to sex, even if you think you can. Just like you can't buy drinks in a pub, because even if you think you are old enough, you aren't.

anditwasallyellow Mon 24-Sep-12 19:52:32

Of course I agree with it how can you not? Are you actually saying that a child under 13 CAN consent to sexual intercourse?

Mrsbiggs Mon 24-Sep-12 19:53:34

In the eyes of the law you are not a child at 14 - you can legally make SOME desicions for yourself without your parents knowledge if you are deemed Fraser Competant by the health professional - counsellor - whatever.

NarcolepsyQueen Mon 24-Sep-12 19:53:51

The law is different for teachers though, due to the power teachers have over children in their care. The age of consent isn't 16 in this case, it is 18 as it is between student and teacher.

RubyFakeNails Mon 24-Sep-12 19:54:14

No, I didn't make myself clear I'm talking about between the ages of 13 and 16.

RubyFakeNails Mon 24-Sep-12 19:55:12

Also if you cannot consent under 16 what happens in relationships between say a 14 year old and a 15 year old?

thebeesnees79 Mon 24-Sep-12 19:55:41

statutory rape is different altogether. In this specific case its sex with a minor and given his job title (position of trust etc) he is going to be in a whole heap of trouble

Tigglette Mon 24-Sep-12 19:56:03

As Mrsbiggs says, there's no defence to having sex with someone under 13 eg that the dependent thought they were older/able to consent. In Scotland both the male and female would be considered to have committed an offence where one, other or both were under 16 though young people close in age wouldn't be likely to face prosecution. In the rest of the uk it's the male partner who would be committing an offence.

In the case of the teacher there's an added complication in that its an offense for an adult considered to be in a position of authority over a young person to have a sexual relationship with them while they are under 18 - the age of consent doesn't apply in the same way because of the misuse of power inherent in such a relationship.

Mrsbiggs Mon 24-Sep-12 19:56:17

Read my post above.....

MrSunshine Mon 24-Sep-12 19:56:26

Again, Statutory Rape is an American legal term, it does not exist in the UK.

anditwasallyellow Mon 24-Sep-12 19:56:33

In my personal opinion if you were 14 or 15 and having sex with men over the age of 18 then you were definitely taken advantage of.

I think it is a grey area, in the case of a 15 year old girl and a 17 year old boy, in the case of a 15 year old girl and a teacher I believe he should be prosecuted.

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 19:57:04

He's twice her age. It's wrong wrong wrong. Even if she thinks she's in love with him, really she's just being groomed.

Chubfuddler Mon 24-Sep-12 19:57:56

Two fifteen year olds are not going to be of any interest to the police whatsoever.

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