Monday, May 24, 2004

A progressive step

That's the only way to describe the government's plans to decriminalise consensual sexual behaviour between teenagers.

I know people don't want to face up to it, but (shock! horror!) teenagers experiment with sex. It is not neccessarily a good thing, but where it is consensual and non-exploitative, the threat of prosecution can only make things worse. If we put the interests of the child first (rather than the interests of outraged and scandalised parents), then we must acknowledge that this is something that should generally be dealt with by parents and educators - not the criminal justice system. The state should only be involved where there is coercion, predation or exploitation; beyond that, it should step back and leave teenagers to decide for themselves what they do with their own bodies.