Debate surrounding the Age of Consent

So currently there is debate and discussion around the Age of Consent and whether it should be changed to 14 here in the UK. Looking across the board, Ages of Consent range from 21 to 12 and change depending on sex and sexual orientation. In many Middle Eastern countries, heterosexual couples are expected to be married, while in the rest of the world the Age of Consent is different for men and women. Obviously in countries where homosexuality is still illegal, the Age of Consent doesn’t consider homosexuals at all.

Looking closer to home, the EU has a huge variety of Ages of Consent. Germany and Spain are both 14, for example. Personally I believe this is too young. If the Age of Consent in the UK is to change, it shouldn’t drop lower than 15. Some argue that teenagers are having sex regardless and they are criminalised by this law, however I am not convinced this is really an argument as most teenagers in a consensual relationship are rarely at risk of being prosecuted, in reality. The police have much more important thing to focus on like cases where sexual intercourse is non-consensual and cases of abuse. The average teenage couple are therefore not really affected by this law. Furthermore people are always going to break this law, and changing the law to reflect this is counterproductive.

It is also important to consider that this law provides protection for children/teenagers. If the Age of Consent is reduced to 14, this will only increase the pressure placed on teenagers to be sexually active. As a society we already sexualise children enough as it is.

I think this is a dangerous move and hope that the government don’t move to make this reality. Here is a link for a (more coherent) argument on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour.

Let me know your opinions in comments below! I would be interested to see what other people think!

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