Ireland's Supreme Court ruled in May that statutory rape consists of any man or boy having intercourse with a girl under the age of 15. Following the ruling, 210 young people were asked to provide their thoughts on the appropriate age of consent for sexual activity, as well as other recommendations on sex education, information, and resources, to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Child Protection Ireland Online reports. This is the first time that teenagers have actively participated in a national debate in Ireland.
The teens recommended that the law treat both genders equally, calling for the same age of consent for both women and men. Also recommended was a two-year maximum age gap between partners that would allow two teenagers to have consensual sex if they were less than two years apart in age, according to RTE News. The teens also called for improved sexual education in schools, more information on sexually transmitted infections, and free contraception. Minister for Children Brian Lenihan said of the findings, "The issue that emerged most forcibly from the consultation was the quality of sex education in our schools... based on the participantsí experience of the school system, it would appear that many schools donít give any sex education," reports Ireland Online.
Media Resources: Ireland Online 11/13/06; RTE News 11/13/06; the Rape Crisis Network Ireland