Illiberal sexual offences and the age of consent

England and Wales' sexual offences, particularly regarding young people, are ridiculous and overly restrictive. The "abuse of a position of trust" offences relating to persons under the age of 18 but over the age of 16 should be scrapped (with the obvious exception of young people in mental health institutions) and sexual intercourse between people under the age of consent should be decriminalised within particular conditions described below.

The age of criminal responsibility for sexual offences (a group of selectively defined offences) should be raised to 13, and people over the age of 13 should be allowed to have consenting relations with another person between the ages of 13 and 15. In addition, people over the age of 14 would be allowed to have consenting sexual relations with a person no more than 4 years older than them (i.e: a 14 year-old and an 18 year-old, a 15 year-old and a 19 year-old). This move would not abolish the age of consent but would water it down slightly, providing a 'cascading' effect as young people take on increasing maturity before attaining a full right to consent at 16.

Why is this idea important?

England and Wales' sexual offences, particularly regarding young people, are ridiculous and overly restrictive. The "abuse of a position of trust" offences relating to persons under the age of 18 but over the age of 16 should be scrapped (with the obvious exception of young people in mental health institutions) and sexual intercourse between people under the age of consent should be decriminalised within particular conditions described below.

The age of criminal responsibility for sexual offences (a group of selectively defined offences) should be raised to 13, and people over the age of 13 should be allowed to have consenting relations with another person between the ages of 13 and 15. In addition, people over the age of 14 would be allowed to have consenting sexual relations with a person no more than 4 years older than them (i.e: a 14 year-old and an 18 year-old, a 15 year-old and a 19 year-old). This move would not abolish the age of consent but would water it down slightly, providing a 'cascading' effect as young people take on increasing maturity before attaining a full right to consent at 16.