The Christian Institute

News Release

Use of Parliament Acts to lower age of consent: New HIV risk for girls

The Christian Institute today published a report highlighting how girls are affected by the Government’s decision to ‘Parliament Act’ the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill. This decision means that men will be able to commit buggery on 16 and 17 year old girls.

Colin Hart, Director of the Institute, said today:

“Lowering the age of consent for the buggery of girls will make more girls vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Where clear force is used the law of rape will protect girls. The problem is that many men manipulate 16 and 17 year old girls into giving their consent. In this case bringing a prosecution is far more difficult since the arguments have to focus on whether or not the girl gave her consent. Thanks to the Government’s decision to press ahead using the Parliament Acts girls are to be exposed to the most medically dangerous sexual activity: anal sex.

Our report quotes an academic study which shows that anal sex carries an HIV infection risk which is 2,700 times that of vaginal intercourse. The Government has decided that 16 and 17 year old girls should now be put at risk in this way.”

A paedophile’s charter

Colin Hart continued:

“We are also very concerned about allowing men to commit homosexual acts on 16 and 17 year old boys. The focus of the debates on the Government’s Bill has been on ‘gay rights’. The problem is that the same law which allows 16 year olds to commit homosexual acts together also allows a 40 year old man to manipulate a 16 year old boy.

It was the age of homosexual consent law which put paedophiles behind bars in the North Wales child abuse scandal. Many of these cases of abuse involved 16 and 17 year-old boys.

The Government has not answered concerns about the risk of paedophiles preying on 16 and 17-year-old boys as a result of their new legislation. The Government’s new ‘abuse of trust’ offence is so narrow that even the Government estimate there will be only 10-15 prosecutions a year.

We would have hoped that the Government would have introduced more safeguards to protect young people. They haven’t. They have even rejected a compromise amendment from the Lords which would have kept the age for buggery for girls and boys at 18, whilst allowing other homosexual acts at 16.

It is wrong in principle for the Government to talk of the possibility of bringing in new abuse safeguards after the legislation has been operating for a year or two. The safeguards should have been introduced in the legislation itself. It all means that the risks of sexual abuse of girls and boys will be dramatically increased. This legislation will be used by evil men who want to abuse girls and boys. The legislation, as Parliament Acted by the Government, is a paedophile’s charter.”