Lower Age Of Consent? U.K. Health Advisor Says It Would Be Good For Teens

consentPhoto: REX USA/Mode/Rex.
Age-of-consent laws are designed to protect children from abuse — but what if they also kept them from receiving necessary health services?
Advertisement
Professor John Ashton, president of the U.K.-based Faculty of Public Health, suggests the British government lower its age of consent from 16 to 15. He says a number of studies have demonstrated that up to a third of teenagers have sex before the age of 16, and that the current law sends a mixed message to its youth.
Ashton believes that lowering the age of consent would allow 15-year-olds easier access to contraceptives and sexual-health services. "Because we are so confused about this and we have kept the age of consent at 16, the 15-year-olds don't have clear routes to getting some support," he told The Sunday Times.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told BBC1's Andrew Marr that he is always trying to get the Department of Education "to update and modernize sex education in schools, which hasn't kept up with the Internet age." He did not, however, support Ashton's suggestion. "[Do] I think simply a blanket reduction in the age of consent is the answer to this difficult dilemma? No."
A spokesman for the Prime Minister's office echoed that sentiment: "We reject the call to lower the age of consent. The current age is in place to protect children and there are no plans to change it."
For a handful of European nations, the age of consent is 16. In France, Greece, Iceland, Denmark, Croatia, and the Czech Republic, it's 15; in Hungary, Germany, and Italy, the age of consent is 14. In the U.S., it varies between 16 and 18, by state. While the U.K.'s age of consent is typically 16, the law also stipulates that a person older than 18 who is in a "position of trust" can't have sex with someone younger than 18.
Advertisement
"I would not personally argue for 14," Ashton said, "But I think we should seriously be looking at 15 so that we can draw a line in the sand and really, as a society, actively discourage sexual involvement under 15. By doing that, you would be able legitimately to organize services to meet the need." (The Telegraph)
Advertisement

More from Sex & Relationships

A version of this story originally appeared on Shape. When it comes to female pleasure, there's enough misinformation out there to fill a book. One of ...
This article was originally published on December 18, 2015. According to stereotypes, men are the sexually voracious cheaters and women are the ...
We're great fans of accessorizing in the bedroom. Au naturel stimulation is wonderful, but sex toys can do things that people just can't. The sex toy ...
Amber Rose doesn't do "off days." "I always feel confident," she tells us. "I never allow myself to not feel confident. I wake up and say, I’m going out ...
Even as the sex toy market continues to expand, there remain a few vital "firsts" for the industry to tackle. This week, with the arrival of the Buck-Off...
The Halloween-costume-planning frenzy is officially in full swing, and we still have so many questions. Is our costume idea clever without being obscure? ...
This article was originally published on April 2, 2015 and has been updated throughout. Lube is a little like masturbation. It's a big part of most people...
(Paid Content) You don't need a degree in common sense to know getting involved with a coworker is a bad idea. Yet, we probably all know someone who has, ...
It would be an understatement to say that a lot of us love superhero blockbusters. Luckily, there's really no shortage of them, but should you ever need ...
The following is an excerpt from Asa Akira's recently released memoir Dirty Thirty. Another year of wasted eggs because I chose to whore instead. “Do ...
In the best-case scenario, you go on a first date with someone, and you hit it off. The chemistry is off the charts, and you're never at a loss for what to...
Even if you think you’re not kinky, there’s a chance your brain might be. And when it comes to getting turned on and orgasming, our brains deserve more ...
Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth's, became the first out member of the British Royal Family when he came out as bisexual last week. In ...
Dear Kelsey, My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship for almost two years. We met on Tinder — shockingly — and things have been great ever since...