Age of consent storm over BBC debate about making sex legal for girls under 16

mercurial

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A BBC programme is to feature a call for the age of consent to be lowered.

Law professor John Spencer will argue that the current age of consent, fixed at 16, criminalises 'half the population'.

His controversial views will be debated on the BBC Radio 4 programme Iconoclasts tomorrow evening.

In a preview of the live programme, BBC programme makers said that the Cambridge academic will argue that it should be 'legal for young teenagers to have sex.

He says the age of consent, fixed at 16 by the Sexual Offences Act 2003, makes criminals of half the population'.

Last night MPs said it was 'ludicrous' to consider lowering the age of consent at a time when teenage pregnancy rates are still soaring.

The latest figures show that 42,900 under-18s and 8,200 under16s became pregnant in England and Wales in 2007, with most of the pregnancies ending in abortion. The Government's controversial teenage pregnancy strategy, which has cost taxpayers more than £300million, was meant to halve the number of conceptions among girls under 18 in England between 1998 and 2010, but teenage pregnancy rates are now higher than they were in 1995.

Professor Spencer, who will set out his views before being challenged by a panel of experts, was unavailable last night. But he has previously argued that the current laws surrounding the age of consent are 'deeply unsatisfactory'.

He is expected to argue that laws are heavy-handed and unenforceable with severe penalties for 'minor offences'.

Tory MP David Davies said: 'It is vital that the law protects vulnerable young people from exploitation by adults.

'There are already far too many young people having underage sex and we have a terrible record for teenage pregnancies.'

Fellow Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe said: 'The proposition that the age of consent should be lowered is absolutely appalling. The situation is bad enough at the moment with high rates of teenage pregnancies and sexual diseases.

'I don't detect a great deal of public support for this. If there was, I would argue that it should be debated. I can only assume the BBC is trying to create the debate.'

Senior police officers have also sparked controversy by calling for the age of consent to be reduced to as young as 13. Two years ago, Chief Superintendent Clive Murray argued that the law does not distinguish between sexual abuse and 'youthful natural instinct'.

In 2006 Terry Grange, former chief constable of Dyfed-Powys Police, claimed that men as old as 30 who have sex with underage girls should not necessarily be classed as paedophiles.

European countries including Austria, Bulgaria and Croatia set the age of consent at 14. It is 13 in Spain.

A BBC spokesman defended the decision to broadcast Professor Spencer's views and insisted the topic would be dealt with in a 'sensitive manner'.

He said: 'Iconoclasts is a live discussion programme, in which a controversial viewpoint from an individual who has professional credibility in his or her field is discussed, explored in detail and robustly challenged by panellists.

'The programme does not advocate the issue, but is a platform for an individual viewpoint and a starting point for serious debate.'
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Kilgore_Trout_Redux

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I think they should decriminalise sex between teenagers but keep it illegal for adults to have sex with minors.

Realistically - should it be a crime for a 16 year old to have sex with a 15 year old?

Also age of consent laws have nothing to do with teenage pregnancy. In the scenario above do you really think age of consent laws are going to stop two horny teenagers?
 

killadoob

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Well i do not think this is a half bad idea, honestly have you seen 14 year old girls of today comapred to 14 year old girls of say the 70's or 80's? as a species we maturing at a much younger age in my opinion and 14 is the new 16 if you ask me.
 

RazedInBlack

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Well i do not think this is a half bad idea, honestly have you seen 14 year old girls of today comapred to 14 year old girls of say the 70's or 80's? as a species we maturing at a much younger age in my opinion and 14 is the new 16 if you ask me.
Now the 14 year olds are attaining milf status already! How are they gonna look when they reach milf age?
 

Mars

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I think they should decriminalise sex between teenagers but keep it illegal for adults to have sex with minors.

Realistically - should it be a crime for a 16 year old to have sex with a 15 year old?
Yes, Yes It should.
By allowing this we are raising a generation of kids without a concept of consequence.
What you should be asking is: is it possible for a 16 y/o and a 15 y/o to raise a child effectively? The answer, of course is no. Also do you think that they are responsible enough to be trusted to practice safe sex? Again no.
So why should two people who can neither be trusted to be responsible nor be able to raise a child be allowed to have sex (legally)? I don’t think so.
Once again you end up with children raising children. We all complain about unruly, undisciplined children, or when we see destitute children on the side of the road we feel bad, but then we say : Its ok for children to have sex…..
 

Sensorei

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Yes, Yes It should.
By allowing this we are raising a generation of kids without a concept of consequence.
Exactly. The whole point is that kids under 16 are not emotionally ready to cope with sex and the consequences. Therefore you can not make it something we are okay with. Yes they will have sex but it does not mean its okay. If I think back when I was really young my 16 year old girlfriend might have enjoyed sex at the time but the emotional cr@p that resulted was because she was too young. Don't get me started on pregancy scares when I was a teen. We didn't understand consequences because of our immaturity and teens will argue until they are blue in the face that they know what they are doing. Lowering the age of consent is basically making it okay for kids to make babies. Teens are not mature enough to use birth control responsibly. If that last condom is used up do you think they will always say no? Of course not.
 

Alan

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Well i do not think this is a half bad idea, honestly have you seen 14 year old girls of today comapred to 14 year old girls of say the 70's or 80's? as a species we maturing at a much younger age in my opinion and 14 is the new 16 if you ask me.
We are :eek:
 

icyrus

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Yes, Yes It should.
By allowing this we are raising a generation of kids without a concept of consequence.
What you should be asking is: is it possible for a 16 y/o and a 15 y/o to raise a child effectively? The answer, of course is no. Also do you think that they are responsible enough to be trusted to practice safe sex? Again no.
So why should two people who can neither be trusted to be responsible nor be able to raise a child be allowed to have sex (legally)? I don’t think so.
Once again you end up with children raising children. We all complain about unruly, undisciplined children, or when we see destitute children on the side of the road we feel bad, but then we say : Its ok for children to have sex…..
And obviously making it outright illegal will stop them. :rolleyes:
 
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