Thu | Feb 9, 2023

Age of consent: 16 or 18?’

Published:Tuesday | December 6, 2022 | 12:07 AM

During the sitting of the Senate last Friday, Opposition Senator Damion Crawford called for the age of consent to be raised from 16 to 18 years old in light of a high number of teen girls leaving school after becoming pregnant.

The age of consent is the minimum age at which a person is old enough to legally consent to participate in sexual activities.

During Crawford’s contribution to the State of the Nation Debate, he cited statistics from a World Bank-UNICEF report which outlined that 49 per cent of school-age girls reported being unable to complete their high-school education because of pregnancy.

The Gleaner sought responses to Crawford’s call on the streets of Kingston.

Rachael Jacobs: “Most 16-year-olds are not that developed. They are still figuring out life. Some of them mostly experience peer pressure and so forth. I think it’s not supposed to move. Sixteen years old is still iffy in my case, but I think it’s supposed to stay in my opinion.”

Devon Fisher: “Since they [the Government] are suggesting that they are to go to sixth form, when they leave sixth form, they’ll be 17 or 18, so I don’t see a problem increasing the age of consent to 18.”

Oshane Senior: “A lot of these young ladies nowadays, they’re trying to say they’re mature at an early age. They need to stay in school and do their lessons, so I believe it must move from 16 to 18.”

Feleisha Dixon: “I really do think they should put the age of consent to age 18 because as soon as the children reach the age of 16 years, they normally think that they are big people, so that they should act accordingly. I really do think they should put it to 18, having them enjoying their childhood before acting as if they are big people.”

Janette Powell: “I think the age of consent should be moved from 16 to 18 years. I think at 16, you are not able to make informed decisions on your sexuality and all of that, so I think 18 is an age where persons would be more informed.”