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Why not lower age of consent to 14?

(107 Posts)
CustardSliceAndAMugOfCoffee Fri 11-Jan-13 12:20:56

Becoming sexually active - why not lower the age of consent to 14?
This was one of the topics for discussion on The Wright Stuff on channel 5 this morning. What are your opinions? I personally think the age of consent should remain 16 years of age.

DSM Fri 11-Jan-13 12:25:39

I think 16 is awful young, but then I also think the only time this law matters is in cases of statutory rape. I don't think two randy 15 year olds will necessarily wait a few months just because the law tells them to.

But lowering it to 14 means older people can sleep with 14 year olds with no legal repercussion. I do not agree with that.

TaggieCampbellBlack Fri 11-Jan-13 12:26:53

Because 14 year olds are completely incapable of parenting effectively.

Conflugenglugen Fri 11-Jan-13 12:29:09

Taggie - I think that is the most compelling argument for keeping it as is.

DSM Fri 11-Jan-13 12:42:22

Taggie - though I agree in principal, I don't like the sweeping generalisation, sorry. I know a girl who had her DD at 14. She is a wonderful mother.

I think there are better arguments TBH. There are some 16 year olds who would be incapable of parenting effectively. There are some 25 year olds who would also fit this description.

Lowering consent means it will be legal to sleep with a 14 year old. Regardless of your age. Surely that is a more compelling argument?

Mitchy1nge Fri 11-Jan-13 12:44:20

In what cases of statutory rape? It's not a term used in English law although the concept is sort of defined when it comes to sexual activity with a child under the age of thirteen I suppose.

Think the law is already quite well set up around protection from predatory older adults (it's not used to prosecute 16 year olds for having sex with 15 year olds is it) so it probably wouldn't hurt to lower the age of consent - once all teenage boys are vasectomised of course

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 11-Jan-13 12:51:09

Because then a 40 year old perv could legally sleep with them.

Good idea? Really?

AMumInScotland Fri 11-Jan-13 12:51:44

I believe there are countries where the age of consent isn't a single thing, but depends on whether both parties are "young" (can't remember the details), so that e.g. two 14yos can choose to have sex, but a 14yo is not legally-available to adults. I certainly don't think it should be lowered without that kind of protection.

Not sure about lowering it at all, but the current situation is an odd one, where people who are through puberty and in longterm caring relationships are barred from acting on it by law. But, as above, its not good for society for them to get pregnant as a result, and we can't make longterm contraception mandatory, so it may be the best compromise between individual liberty and what is good for society in general.

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 11-Jan-13 12:55:42

We could also try teaching kids that PIV sex isn't the only type you can have. For many teenage girls, it's not even the best type.

ForkInTheForeheid Fri 11-Jan-13 12:55:45

Personally I feel that teenagers experimenting with sex in consensual situations shouldn't be criminalised, but that there should be a provision for age differences. Say more than two years or something? Ability to parent is a red herring. We don't make that provision for irresponsible/criminal adults so why teenagers?
I think what is hugely important for teenagers is to warn them about the dangers of unhealthy relationships and look out for the warning signs of emotional and physical abuse. I was very aware of safe sex and always made sure I had condoms, went on the pill etc. (all under the age of consent) but I wasn't aware that I was picking someone a bit rubbish as my sexual partner as he slowly chipped away at my self-esteem. Teenagers seek sex because they have sex drives, this is not wrong and should not be demonised. They need to be supported to make safe choices and protected from exploitative adults.

Mitchy1nge Fri 11-Jan-13 12:55:52

We would have to have something like the Romeo and Juliet laws wouldn't we, which I think we sort of have covered already for 13-15 year olds? But I agree it is more important to protect young people from older predators than to worry about criminalising consensual activity between similarly aged couples - which never happens anyway (the criminalisation I mean not the activity itself)

DSM Fri 11-Jan-13 13:12:03

mitchy statutory rape is the commonly used term for someone having sex with a person under the age of 16. As they are legally not able to consent.

And yes, it is used to prosecute 16 year olds for having sex with 15 year olds.

Mitchy1nge Fri 11-Jan-13 13:19:31

In England and Wales, are you sure?

I am wildly out of date then, but we have never had an offence called 'statutory rape' as far as I remember.

LunaticFringe Fri 11-Jan-13 13:21:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

meditrina Fri 11-Jan-13 13:29:15

I think the age needs to be set no earlier than the time when most children have completed the major changes of puberty (even if the process is not totally complete).

Even though the menarche is typically at a younger age now, it is not uncommon for periods not to begin until 14 (or even slightly older); it is however very rare for them not to have started by 16, so that does seem a better age for legal sexual maturity.

DSM Fri 11-Jan-13 13:37:00

mitchy 'statutory rape' is the term used when an under 16 gives consent to sexual relations. They have given consent, so rape, by definition, cannot be committed. However, as the law considers them unable to give such consent, the term 'statutory rape' is applied.

It's not a law, its a term to define a law.

Mitchy1nge Fri 11-Jan-13 14:05:39

Thanks. I didn't think it was a term used in England and Wales, that's all. I also thought the closest we came to (statutorily) defining the concept, as an offence, concerned under thirteen year olds with separate provision made for thirteen to fifteen year olds. But it is nice to learn something ever day, as they say.

meditrina Fri 11-Jan-13 14:27:17

You cannot be charged with statutory rape in England/Wales as no such offence exists. There are however a range of charges available for those who have unlawful sex with a minor.

Statutory rape is a charge in other jurisdictions and is widely used on the Internet.

DSM Fri 11-Jan-13 14:31:42

You can be charged with unlawful sexual intercourse, which is commonly referred to under the term 'statutory rape', even in court. Though in England/Wales, this only applies to young girls.

Mitchy1nge Fri 11-Jan-13 14:32:56

I think what I was trying to say was that the presumption that a young person can't consent to sexual activity is rebuttable between similarly aged teens but not between a young person and an adult or anyone under the age of thirteen - but this could be wishful thinking on my part. It would be sensible, especially if all else was equal.

DSM Fri 11-Jan-13 14:35:27

So you think the age of consent should be lowered?

PiccadillyCervix Fri 11-Jan-13 14:36:38

It is not a sweeping generalization to say a 14 year old is not even legally allowed to live on their own and look after themselves so in my mind should not not be parenting anyone alone. They would still need their parent to "supervise" would they not?

I wouldn't even let a 14 year old baby sit.

But to me more important than even that, is that I feel a 20/30/40 year old who would have sex with a 14 year old is a sex abuser and I don't want to make it even easier for them.

Viviennemary Fri 11-Jan-13 14:36:42

I think it should be raised to 18 never mind lowered.

Mitchy1nge Fri 11-Jan-13 14:38:24

Like I said, when all teenage boys are vasectomised (ie never).

But if all else was equal I don't see why not. Except of course it isn't.

DSM Fri 11-Jan-13 14:41:07

A 14 year old girl that gets pregnant does not necessarily have a parent to 'supervise' them, so no, they don't.

Whether or not a 14 year old can be a good parent is not the issue.

I agree with your second statement wholeheartedly, likewise with vivienne's statement.

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