Minor (law) - Wikipedia
In the UK, the age of consent stands at 16, regardless of gender or sexual as “ Romeo and Juliet laws”, exists to decriminalise consensual sex US minors who got married between and , The Guardian reports. Consequently, any one who has sex with an underage individual, regardless of the An age of consent statute first appeared in secular law in in England as was possession of proof of age or even knowledge of a precise date of birth. Information on the ages used historically in western age of consent laws is not readily available. By , the first date chosen, many western nations had established an age of consent for England & Wales, 13, 16, 16 Sex with a minor.
Under the Sexual Offences Act it is an offence to engage in any sexual activity with a child under the age of 16, and the prosecution need not prove lack of consent. It is a defence if the perpetrator reasonably believed that the child was 16 or over but only if the child was in fact 13 or over. For some offences, the penalties differ depending on the age of the perpetrator; except in the case of certain offences specifically relating to sexual activity with unders, the maximum sentence for a person who was under 18 at the time of the offence is five years' imprisonment, whereas for overs the maximum terms range between 10 years and life imprisonment.
The effect of the law is that if two year-olds engage in consensual sexual activity and each knows that the other is under 16, they will both be guilty of an offence carrying a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment. The concept of private life protected by article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights includes a person's sexual life, so the criminalisation of consensual sexual activity is likely to amount to an interference with the right to respect for one's private life. But article 8 is a qualified right, and interferences with it are permitted where necessary in a democratic society in pursuit of certain legitimate aims, including the protection of health and morals and the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Inthe House of Lords considered the case of a year-old boy who was convicted of rape of a child under 13 after having sexual intercourse with a year-old girl whom he believed to be For the purposes of sentencing, the prosecution accepted that the girl consented and that she had said she was Neither of those factors amounted to a defence, however, because the offence is committed if a person intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with his penis and that other person is under The attitude of the victim towards the act is irrelevant, as is the perpetrator's belief as to the victim's age.
The defendant argued that this "strict liability" was incompatible with the presumption of innocence guaranteed by article 6 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and that the decision to prosecute him with the offence of rape of a child under 13 carrying a maximum penalty of life imprisonment as opposed to the lesser offence of sexual activity with a child under 16 maximum five years' imprisonment for an underyear-old breached his right to respect for private life under article 8.
The House of Lords rejected both arguments.
Children and Youth in History | Age of Consent Laws
They noted that article 6 2 is concerned with the fairness of the proceedings, not the content of the criminal law.
Since the prosecution still had to prove that the defendant had intentionally penetrated the victim and that she was in fact under 13, there was no violation of the presumption of innocence.
They acknowledged that the offence was one of strict liability but considered that, since the policy of the legislation was to protect children, it was justified. If you have sex with someone who is on any view a child, you take your chance on exactly how old they are. If they turn out to be under 13 then there is no unfairness in the fact that that amounts to a serious offence.
The age of consent, which applied to boys as well as girls, was increased to 13 years in Like France, many other countries, increased the age of consent to 13 in the 19th century. Nations, such as Portugal, Spain, Denmark and the Swiss cantons, that adopted or mirrored the Napoleonic code likewise initially set the age of consent at years and then raised it to between 13 and 16 years in the second half of the 19th century.
InEngland raised the age to 13 years; an act of sexual intercourse with a girl younger than 13 was a felony. Nor did Anglo-American law apply to boys. Behind the inconsistency of these different laws was the lack of an obvious age to incorporate into law. Although scientists and physicians had established that menstruation and puberty occurred on average around age 14 in Europe at this time, different individuals experienced it at different ages -- a fluid situation at odds with the arbitrary line drawn by whatever age was incorporated into law.
At the end of 19th century, moral reformers drew the age of consent into campaigns against prostitution. Revelations of child prostitution were central to those campaigns, a situation that resulted, reformers argued, from men taking advantage of the innocence of girls just over the age of consent.What Is The Age Of Consent?
The outcry it provoked pushed British legislators to raise the age of consent to 16 years, and stirred reformers in the U. ByAnglo-American legislators had responded by increasing the age of consent to 16 years, and even as high as 18 years.
The strange status of year-olds - BBC News
While those ages were well beyond the normal age of menstruation, proponents justified them on scientific grounds that psychological maturity came later than physiological maturity. They also argued that the age of consent should be aligned with other benchmarks of development, such as the age at which girls could enter into contracts and hold property rights, typically 21 years.
Opponents remained focused on physiological maturity, however, and argued that girls in their teens were sufficiently developed not to need legal protection. Moreover, they argued, by late adolescence girls possessed sufficient understanding about how to use the law to blackmail unwary men. Historians have argued that increasing the age of consent also gave the law a more pronounced regulatory dimension.
In practice, these laws were often used to control the behavior of the working-class girls. Yet reformers at the time saw no distinction between protection and regulation: In addition to class, the intersection of race and age also gave the law a regulatory character. In India, for example, the prevalence of the custom of child marriage among Hindus led the British colonial authorities to apply the age of consent to married as well as unmarried girls, thereby creating a crime of marital rape that did not exist in British law.
The Indian Penal Code set the age at 10 years; in the age of consent but not the age of marriage was raised to 12 years.
As a result, the age of consent regulated the consummation of marriage, ensuring that it was delayed until an age when Indian girls were considered likely to have begun menstruating. A furious debate preceded the enactment of the law, focused in large part on whether the law violated the commitment the British government had made in not to interfere in native cultures. That Indian law set the age lower than British law reflected ideas that non-white races "matured earlier," in part because of the environments in which they originated.
Australian legislators even claimed that white girls living in sub-tropical climates "ripened" into women earlier than those in Europe.
Do teenagers have a human right to consensual sexual activity?
The behavior of underage girls gave support to both proponents and opponents of the increased age of consent. Increasingly living in cities and working in factories, offices and stores, working-class girls with a new freedom from the supervision of family members and neighbors cultivated a flamboyant, sexually expressive style that extended to consensual sexual activity, usually with men only a few years their elders.
Their new freedom brought girls danger as well as pleasure: Girls involved in age of consent prosecutions came in roughly equal numbers from each of those groups. In the s, support for setting the age of consent at 16 years or older began to weaken. Characterized by growing economic, social, and cultural independence, girls in their teens assumed a place in western societies quite distinct from that of younger children.
The strange status of 16-year-olds
New concepts of adolescence and specifically of girlhood normalized sexual activity during the teenage years, at least within peer groups, as "sex play" necessary to achieve adult heterosexuality.
Emboldened and influenced by such ideas, girls more often talked of being "in love" with the men charged with having sex with them, and expressed sexual desire. Prosecutors and juries increasingly refused to treat such cases as rape. Legislators, however, did not reduce the legal age of consent. The resulting tension was reflected in slang, most notably the American term "jailbait," dating from the s, that registered cultural recognition of teenage girls as sexually attractive, even sexually active, but legally unavailable.
American legislators did amend laws to take account of the offender's age during the s and s as teen culture expanded and female adolescents exercised their sexual autonomy.
During and after World War II, if both the male and female were underage or between two and six years above the age of consentthe punishment was reduced. By the s, feminist rape law reform campaigns had helped to expand age of consent laws. Aiming to challenge stereotypes of female passivity and growing concern about male victimization, they made it clearer that the laws concerned all youth—male and female—and that the laws protected them from exploitation rather than ensuring their virginity.
European nations in general did not follow suit. Only Britain, inrevised its legislation, making an act committed by an individual under 18 with one under 16 a separate, lesser offense.
- Minor (law)
A more broadly adopted element of feminist rape law reform was the application of gender-neutral language: Age of consent laws applied only to heterosexual intercourse.
The new language criminalized acts between underage boys and women, but not those between boys and men.