Page last updated at 15:20 GMT, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Consult children on sex law call

Teenagers, generic
The Church of Scotland said more consultation was needed

The Church of Scotland has called for children to be asked their views on possible changes to sex laws.

The Reverend Graham Blount told MSPs that the Kirk's previous view that under-16s should not be criminalised for having sex could change.

His comments came after claims that some youngsters found the threat of legal action helped them make informed decisions.

The Christian Institute warned children should not "dictate" the law to adults.

Mr Blount was giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee, which is looking into the Scottish Government's Sexual Offences Bill.

At present, boys aged 13 to 15 who engage in consensual sex with girls the same age can technically face a criminal record, although prosecution is rare.

The new bill would see young teenage girls treated the same way.

Mr Blount stressed that more consultation was needed before any legislative change.

But David Greatorex, of the Christian Institute, said the charity would "hesitate to give too much weight" to children's views.

"Criminal laws have an advisory role to them to regulate their conduct and we would hesitate to allow them to dictate what a regulation should be," he added.

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