Ignoring the age of consent lets down our young people

When the rain started and the ground was being covered at the recent Wimbledon final, I heard Boris Becker recount his experience of winning Wimbledon at age 17. Boris Becker, speaking of the advantage of being younger as a finalist said, “…at seventeen, you live in the moment, you don’t think of the consequences. On Friday I was not thinking about Sunday.” This reminded me of one of the reasons why those who ignore or fail to enforce the legal age of consent for sexual activity in the UK are letting down our young people.

Some degree of risk taking is an integral part of growing up, but young people are generally poor at recognising and avoiding serious consequences, especially if intoxicated. Is allowing young people the freedom to throw away their virginity, father a child or catch an infection without enforcing the legal boundaries, actually giving them the protection they deserve? The law sets the boundaries and society imposes those boundaries by upholding the law.