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Prosecute teenagers who have sex, says top Tory


9:45 am - March 17th 2010

by Newswire    


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Here’s Tory shadow minister for children and young people and former banker, Tim Loughton, in an interview with the Guardian:

He eventually touches upon a rather explosive, hitherto hidden, line of Tory thinking: criminalising the young for having sex.

“We need a message that actually it is not a very good idea to become a single mum at 14. [It is] against the law to get pregnant at 14. How many kids get prosecuted for having underage sex? Virtually none. Where are the consequences of breaking the law and having irresponsible underage sex? There aren’t any.”

So should there be prosecutions? “We need to be tougher. Without sounding horribly judgmental, it is not a good idea to be a mum at 14. You are too young, throwing away your childhood and prospects of developing a career.”

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Reader comments


LOL, WUT?

Awaiting the government-backed campaign on the joys of masturbation…

Think of the poster possibilities!

This won’t go down well with the teenage vote. Oh wait…

What would it achieve? Some girl gets preggers because some boy nobs her, then she gets a fine? And thrown in jail?

When will these Tories learn? Slapping a fine and a criminal record on any old misdemeanour is not going to reduce its incidence or put people off from doing it.

You can bet your life if this did become policy, it would be like drug enforcement. i.e it wouldn’t be middle/upper class teengers in jail, but working class kids.

Didnt this guy go on the Tower Block of Commons programme? You’d think he’d have learnt from there that you have to help lift people out of their problems rather than just dropping them into jail.

“You are too young, throwing away your childhood and prospects of developing a career.”

You know what’ll help remedy that though? A nice prison sentence and a criminal record.

Except in the report and the extract you republish, he doesn’t say children who have broken the law should be prosecuted does he?

Evan@9, So how can you be tougher than ‘not prosecuting’? Cautions perhaps?

Perhaps they need to Google “statutory rape”. There are plenty of people who get prosecuted – even sent to prison – for sex when the male partner is a few months over the age of consent and the female partner a few months under. In the eyes of blunt laws, there is no difference between a girl who is 13 having sex with a fully-grown man who coaxed ‘consent’ out of her in a manipulative way and a girl who is 15 years and 11 months having sex with a boy who is 16 years and 1 month old who are in a loving relationship and consent freely (in whatever capacity they can).

This has led to so-called “Romeo and Juliet laws” in some jurisdictions which remove or cut down criminal penalties based on relative age (Texas, for instance, has one – as does Finland). Admittedly, these are often unfair – they often only cover heterosexuality, like the old British consent law (16 for male-female consent, 18 for male-male consent).

This statement just shows that hidden behind Cameron’s goofy Blair-like populism (Guinness from a can while watching darts on Sky+ anyone?) is the same old Section 28 attitude with some liberal airbrushing.

“Former banker”? I thought it was unacceptable to describe private sector trade union members as Unite activists a few days ago? Is this a new line?

10 – I wasn’t the one being interviewed, I merely point out that the headline is not consistent with the extract and when you read the article the extract comes from, it is clear that he did not say that pregnant children should be prosecuted.

11 – in the UK we don’t have an offence called ‘statutory rape’, we have the offence of ‘unlawful sexual intercourse’ and if you look at the guidelines for prosecutors, available online here – http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/sexual_offences_unlawful_sexual_intercourse/ – you will notice that we don’t go in for prosecuting children for having sex with children a few months younger than themselves. Judgments have to be made by prosecutors as to whether the prosecution is in the public interest – and it may well not be in the cases that you suggest would be prosecuted (but in my view would be unlikely).

I don’t think he is a “top Tory”.

But he is obviously an idiot.

#14

He is the Tory with shadow ministerial responsibility for the area he is talking about. So I am assuming he is speaking for the Conservative Party as a whole.

I particularly enjoyed this: “Where are the consequences of breaking the law and having irresponsible underage sex? There aren’t any” – surely pregnancy is one possible consequence, by his own admission…

Also interesting that underage single mums get several mentions, but the boys who impregnated them don’t get one.

We’ve had threads here before on why some areas in Britain have higher teen pregnancy rates than others but what I’d like to know is why this:

” . . the UK has the highest percentage of teenage pregnancies in Western Europe – and is second only to the United States, according to figures compiled by the World Health Organisation. . .

“The teenage pregnancy rate in Holland is only one-fifth as high as that of the UK – only five births per 1,000 teenagers compared to the UK’s 27. Its abortion rate per teenage head of the population is also one of the lowest in Europe.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/extras/big-question/the-big-question-why-are-teenage-pregnancy-rates-so-high-and-what-can-be-done-about-it-1623828.html

Do all those other countries in west Europe have low teen pregnancy rates because of their official policies to actively prosecute teenage mums or because of other reasons? Could the high teen pregnancy rate in Britain be linked with this?

“The survey of 35 countries found the UK had the third-highest number of 15 and 16-year-olds with an alcohol problem.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/5054380/Britains-chronic-teenage-binge-drinking-problem-highlighted-by-European-poll.html

And this?

“Sweden has the highest incidence of reported rapes in Europe – twice as many as ‘runner up’ the UK, a new study shows. In Sweden, 46 incidents of rape are reported per 100,000 residents. This figure is double as many as in the UK which reports 23 cases, and four times that of the other Nordic countries, Germany and France.
http://www.thelocal.se/19102/20090427/

Did anyone miss this (very downbeat) feature in Time Magazine two years ago on teens in Britain?
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1725547,00.html

Some highlights:

– 27% of UK 15 year olds have been drunk 20 or more times compared to 12% in Germany, 6% in Holland and 3% in France
– 44% of UK teenagers are frequently involved in fights compared to 28% in Germany.
– 35% of UK 15 year olds have used Cannabis in the last 12 months, compared to 27% in France, 22% in Holland and 18% in Germany.
– 40% of English fifteen year old girls have had sexual intercourse, compared to 29% in Sweden, 24% in Canada, 20% in Holland, 18% in France and 14% on Spain.
– 15% of English girls fail to use contraception.
– A 2007 UNICEF child welfare study placed Britain bottom of a league table of 21 industrialised countries.
– Between 2003 and 2006 violent crime committed by UK under 18s rose 37%
– Marriage rates in Britain are at a 146 year low.
– Class sizes in Britain are among the highest of 20 Western countries.
– British children start school earlier and take more exams than other European countries.

16
I must say that I am quite dubious about the researcher’s claim that the large number of reported rapes in Sweden doesn’t reflect the higher levels of reporting compared to other countries.
I think the latest estimate in the UK is that the number of actual rapes is 3 to 4 times higher than reported rapes. And it appears that women are still deterred from reporting date-rapes and rape by known persons.

Those Tories are quick!
One poster is already circulating.

And people keep telling me the tory party has changed.

Same old, same old.

He didn’t say WE should Prosecute he merely referred to the fact that intercourse under 16 is illegal in this country and that no one is prosecuted.The only prosecutions that occur other than those involving Rape are if one of the parties is significantly older than the minor involved.However if one of the parties is 15 and the other 17 and both …consent nothing is done to penalise either party.The problem is that childhood ends at 12 today.Society pushes children into growing up to fast.They are forced into developing too soon 35 years ago Monkey Music and Baby brain Gym for the under 1s didn’t exist.Now infants are pushed by parents into developing beyond the norms,and so the cycle continues look at any 5 year old at a school disco.They are dressed as “Mini Mes” is it surprising that by 12 they want to move on and try the next stage of adulthood.Perhaps before we use the phrase “Grow up”to a child we should think of the implications.Bring back Childhood and the age of innocence.

I wouldn’t want to insist that what works in the Netherlands – or anywhere else – would work as well here, but surely that would be the place to look at first for a rational policy.
Unfortunately, all too often people are more interested in “sending a message”, “being tough on [x]” and getting on a moralistic high horse than adopting a policy that will actually work.

And if Loughton didn’t actually say outright that underage mothers should be prosecuted, he didn’t suggest anything else and DID seem to imply that the lack of prosecutions wasn’t a good thing.

@18: “I think the latest estimate in the UK is that the number of actual rapes is 3 to 4 times higher than reported rapes. And it appears that women are still deterred from reporting date-rapes and rape by known persons.”

Rape stats as reported in 2007:

– About 80% of rapes never reported
– One-third those reported not recorded by police
– A fifth of those recorded reaches trial
– Half those tried result in conviction
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6314445.stm

24. Shatterface

Is this really any worse than Gordon Brown’s BNP-inspired ‘Gulags for Slags’ proposal?

Has anyone considered the possibility that teen pregnancies are undeniable evidence of diabolic interventions?

After all, we’ve been recently informed:

“Sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church are proof that that ‘the Devil is at work inside the Vatican’, according to the Holy See’s chief exorcist.”
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7056689.ece

And the church has been preparing counter-measures:

“A Vatican-backed college is launching a new course for exorcists – Roman Catholic priests who cast out evil spirits from the possessed. Lessons at the prestigious Athenaeum Pontificium Regina Apostolorum will include the history of Satanism and its context in the Bible.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4272689.stm


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  12. Melissa Ho

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  13. Helen L

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  14. Helen L

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  15. Soho Politico

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  17. Dale Bassett

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  18. Liberal Conspiracy

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  29. Bin27

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  30. Tim Ireland

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  31. Tamarisk Kay

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  33. Lee Griffin

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  38. Chris Keating

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  41. Teenage Girls Have Sex. Get over it. « Bad Conscience

    […] in Feminism and Gender Equality, Politics, Society at 8:00 am by Paul Sagar Liberal Conspiracy recently reported the hilarious, if disturbing, remarks of Tory MP Tim […]

  42. Liberal Conspiracy » Teenage girls have sex. Get over it.

    […] girls have sex. Get over it. by Paul Sagar     March 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm We recently reported the hilarious, if disturbing, remarks of Tory MP Tim Loughton: “We need a message that actually it is not a very good idea to become a single mum at 14. [It is] […]





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