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Crawford calls for age of consent to be raised to 18 years

By Warren Bertram 

Opposition Senator Damion Crawford is calling for the age of consent to be increased from 16 to 18 years old in light of the high number of teen girls who had to leave school after becoming pregnant.

The age of consent is the minimum age at which a person is old enough to legally consent to participation in sexual activities.

In his contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on Friday, Mr. Crawford cited statistics from a World Bank-UNICEF report which outlined that 49 per cent of school-aged girls reported being unable to complete their high school education due to pregnancy.

Citing reasons provided by UNICEF for an age of consent, Mr. Crawford explained that it is a tool used to "protect adolescents from sexual abuse, from the consequences of early sexual activity on their rights and on their development". 

He said if there are plans to extend the length of the high school term to seven years, adjustments should also be made to the age of consent.