Call for debate to lower age of consent for sex to 15

A consent age change would help 15-year-olds who are having sex to get contraception and health advice from the NHS, Professor Ashton said. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Archive

A leading public health expert has called for a renewed debate on the age of consent, arguing it should be lowered from 16 to 15.

Professor John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, said our society sends "confused" signals about when sex is permitted.

He said it means 15-year-olds who are in sexual relationships "don't have clear routes to getting some support".

Up to a third of teenagers have had sex before the present age of consent, according to official figures.

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Age of consent calls rejected

The Government has rejected calls from a leading public health expert to lower the age of consent, from 16 to 15. Professor John Ashton says society sends "confused" signals about when sex is permitted.