Response on "sexual offences", from Andrew Stunell MP

There are two letters below:
Barry Pearson to Andrew Stunell, proposing a change to the "sexual offences" law
Andrew Stunell to Barry Pearson, rejecting the proposal

In my opinion, the rejection was based on a misunderstanding. Can it really be right that "each parent does have a statutory responsibility to provide for their children", even when "Children under the age of thirteen should be deemed incapable of giving legally significant consent to any form of sexual activity"? How can a lack of legally significant consent lead to a statutory responsibility?

But the matter may no longer be applicable, because the law does not appear to be as proposed by the White Paper.


Barry Pearson to Andrew Stunell

(Address removed)

24th November 2002

Dear Mr Andrew Stunell

I read in the white paper "Protecting The Public" for new laws on sexual offences:

"Children under the age of thirteen should be deemed incapable of giving legally significant consent to any form of sexual activity.... Any sexual intercourse with a child under 13 will be charged as rape."

At the moment, a boy who becomes a father as result of sex while he is under the age of 16 can still become liable to pay child support for that child when he is old enough to afford it. Statutory rape does not remove such a responsibility. A number of commentators have felt that this is inconsistent, although it appears to be standard practice elsewhere too (for example in the USA).

But this extra age limit of 13, which appears to apply to boys as well as girls, draws a much clearer line. If he is incapable of giving consent, surely he cannot be held responsible for any consequences.

I ask you to follow this up, and establish that a person who becomes a parent as a result of sex while below this new limit cannot involuntarily become liable for child support. (Perhaps he could waive this by accepting parental responsibility when old enough to do so).

I have no other comment to make here on this part of the proposed law.

Yours sincerely

Barry Pearson
Chief Analyst of Child Support Analysis:
http://www.childsupportanalysis.co.uk/


Andrew Stunell to Barry Pearson

Andrew Stunell MP
(Address removed)

Mr B Pearson
(Address removed)

9th January 2003

My ref: PEA1266/AS/ID

Dear Mr Pearson

I am following up on your letter about the application of Child Support legislation where the parent is under the age of 13.

As the application of CSA legislation is income dependent, I think the contingency you have outlines is somewhat remote to be frank. However, as they become older and presumably begin to earn an income, each parent does have a statutory responsibility to provide for their children. That clearly includes any parent without responsibility for day to day care of the child. I hope this clarifies the position.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Stunell MP

Page last updated: 14 September, 2005 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2002 & Andrew Stunell 2003