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, in support of children's rights, gay liberationism or, more recently, "as a means to avoid unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and 'bad sex' via education and health promotion".The reason the age of consent was lowered from 17 to 16 in 2008 with the Order was to bring it in line with the rest of the UK; Criminal Justice Minister Paul Goggins said there was no compelling reason for the age to be different in Northern Ireland than elsewhere.If any individual has sex with someone under this age, then he or she may be charged with a criminal offence and may receive a 2-year prison sentence.In April 1972 a conference of the Quakers religious group in the UK, the Society of Friends Social Responsibility Council, passed a resolution in favour of lowering the age of consent in Britain from 16 to 14.They also argued that "childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage", and suggested that more harm was caused when the children retold their experiences in court or to the press.
She favoured lowering the age of consent to 12 in the UK while labeling the criminalisation of sexual activity under the age of 16 as "laughably unrealistic".The male homosexual age of consent in the United Kingdom was set at 21 in the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, then lowered to 18 in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, and finally lowered to 16 in England and Scotland in the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act of 2000.Currently, the age of consent for penetrative sex, oral sex and mutual masturbation in the United Kingdom is 16 years.[...] Significant sections of liberal opinion in the political mainstream, including prominent campaigners for children’s interests and sexual health, support at least some selective decriminalisation of sexual activity between young people under 18.
More generally in academic work, particularly in sociology, recent writing on human sexual behaviour from various perspectives has questioned the extent of prohibitions on sexual activity involving children.On 17 October 2010, on the BBC's Sunday Morning Live program, the viewing public was asked for their text poll, "Should the age of consent be lowered to 13?