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The young do need legal protection
Is the age of consent too low in the UK?
Member Name: catsholiday
Is the age of consent too low in the UK?
Advantages: It is there to protect the most vulnerable in society
Disadvantages: Often a law that is broken and undetected
The Age of consent is a law that fixes an age before which you are not legally able to consent to having sex. The AOC in the UK is 16 as it is also in the USA, Australia and Canada. For the purpose of this review I will only be referring to the UK as that is the debate question.
In the UK this AOC applies to both heterosexual and homosexual sex. If you have sex with someone under the AOC you can be prosecuted as it is against the law. This is in order to safeguard young people who it is felt are too young and immature to make this decision for themselves.
It would be lovely if it was that easy but we still have so many teenage pregnancies so somewhere along the line this law is failing. Many of these young girls are well below the AOC and indeed so are the partners and in this case it becomes a child protection situation. If both are under the AOC they might be charged with some offence in the Juvenile Justice System and chances are the youngsters might be declared "at risk" and put in a foster home. Sadly so many of these children having babies are already in care and confuse sex with love and only when the baby comes along do they realise they are on their own as the lad scarpers and it is not all as easy as it looks.
I do think we still need the AOC and it is a slight deterrent to predatory sex offenders and those who groom youngsters for sex. Yes we still have them but at least there is a law and they can be prosecuted so there is a small amount of protection for young people. We have so many confused and vulnerable young people who get into situations that they become trapped in and at least this law is there if they do find the courage to go to the police, they will then get some protection.
There is a little flexibility in the law so that if the boy is only sixteen there is unlikely to be a prosecution. If someone in a position of responsibility is having sex with an underage minor then that is considered even more serious and the law hits hard as it should.
I think 16 is quite low enough as children below this age have not even fully matured physically and most are certainly not mature enough to make adult decisions and bring up children of their own.
This time of youth and innocence is something that you never get back, there is the rest of life to have serious relationships, sex and children, young people should enjoy this time with few responsibilities as it will not come around a second time. What I find sad is that the youngsters experience this area before they actually mature enough emotionally to really understand about commitment and all that comes with having sex. They then don't have the opportunity to be youngsters, to concentrate on their education, take part in sports or just enjoy time with friends doing young people's things.
I find it quite horrifying that in some countries the AOC is as low as 12. This was the case in the UK centuries ago but as we have become more civilized and young people have more to learn in order to become responsible adults the age has been raised to suit the our times.
In the UK teachers as well as doctors and nurses are required by law to report any under-age sex and parents to the police. This is considered a serious offence and is dealt with as such. Because this is such a sensitive area sensible interpretation is taken by those making the legal decisions and as I said it is more serious if the older person is a lot older and in a position seen to be responsible such as a parent, uncle, teacher, club official or the like.
This situation of an adult taking advantage of a young person is quite different from mutual consenting youngsters. Any adult using a young person in this way should rightly be punished. I even find the idea of an adult and a 16 year old disturbing as many are not mature enough to know that they are being taken advantage of and I would be very any lowering this AOC 16 is quite low enough.
In my view statuary rape is a horrifying crime. There is not much else that is more of an abuse of another person than invading their body. Even if it is 'consensual' an adult much older should have the decency to allow the youngster to mature emotionally before engaging in any sexual activity.
In my opinion the AOC is very much a necessity and relevant in modern Britain. Things have moved on so much in society and this is surely a move in the right direction to have this AOC at an older age than it was in the Middle Ages. This is a sign of a society that is becoming more sophisticated and responsible for the younger generation in the same way as we don't toss our old people out to die when they become of no further use.
I trust that we as a society do not take a step backwards and reduce this AOC because we need our young people to have a fully rounded growing up. There is so much more that youngsters have to learn in order to become fully rounded members of our society as life is so much more complicated than it was in the past. Women are often expected to do more than just keep a clean house and raise babies one after the other. Life is more complicated and you are adult for much longer than you are able to enjoy being young.
Nor sure how to star this or what I am giving stars to - the law or the fact that we need one at all. I'll give it five for being a law we need.
Summary: We need a law to protect young people until they are of an age to fully understand what is happening