Age of Consent

Should the age of consent for sexual intercourse be reduced from 16? It’s a good question and I would say no, it shouldn’t. However I would add a caveat to that which is to acknowledge that many young people under the age of 16 are physically mature and that it is societies’ decision that they are not emotionally mature enough to indulge in

English: This map displays the legal age of co...

English: This map displays the legal age of consent for heterosexual sex in various countries.   – puberty   – less than 12   – 12   – 13   – 14   – 15   – 16   – 17   – 18   – 19   – 20   – 21+   – varies by state/province/region/territory   – must be married   – no law   – no data available (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

sexual behaviour.

Also those aged between 14 and 16 rarely see themselves as children even if parents and the community at large do, and a number of them want to have intercourse whatever the law says. There are other things to consider as well, such as boys under 16 are children as well even though they are capable of having sex. (When I first qualified a boy of 14 was considered incapable of SI and therefore could not commit rape) Zoe Williams makes the same point in her article in todays Guardian. And as many parents know, often boys mature emotionally more slowly than girls (Isn’t that why girls and young women tend to have relationships with men a few years older than themselves?)

As in the case I outlined in my blog Serious Stuff, these cases are often more complicated than the press and media generally allow for in their condemnation of underage sex. I can think of a number of examples of cases where the girl was a willing participant in the sexual activity and was not a victim in any real sense of the word.

About scribblingadvocate

Born in Lancashire, Law degree from Sheffield University and MA in Creative Writing from Exeter. A barrister for twenty five years, who appeared in the Crown Courts in and around London. When I retired we moved to live in Devon, first on Dartmoor, more recently overlooking the Exe Estuary. After twenty years I still feel an exile from London. Married, no children but own an affable Springer Spaniel. I love reading, walking and travel. I completed an MA in Creative Writing at Exeter University and have written three books, Crucial Evidence, Reluctant Consent and Legal Privilege, all set in London. You can email me

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