Jersey review age of consent

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An official review into the age of consent for gay men in Jersey is taking place over the next two months.

The Parliament of the Channel Island’s Bailiwick of Jersey has asked the Corporate Affairs Scrutiny Panel to review proposals to lower the age of consent from 18 to 16.

Last week, Jersey’s Community Relations Trust said it would take away the criminalisation of what it says is a natural act. Politicians debated plans to update the sexual offences law so sex between men is dealt with in the same way as between men and women.

States members voted by 41 to 10 to let a scrutiny panel consider the plans to lower the age of consent.

The Home Affairs Committee said the case for reform was based on rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.

However, the Jersey Youth Reform Team says the failure of the States to make a decision on the issue showed unwillingness to deal with it. The Team says it is considering taking the issue to the UK’s privy council.

In Jersey it is still illegal for gay men to have sex if they are under 18, which is out of step with the UK where the age of consent is 16. In the meantime, the island’s Sexual Offences Law will remain unchanged.