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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 23 October, 2019
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Poll: Should laws on underage sex be the same for boys and girls?

The ‘Romeo & Juliet’ legislation allows for the prosecution of boys for having sex with an underage partner but prevents girls from being guilty of the same offence. Should this be changed?

Image: uzaigaijin via Flickr

A PROVISION UNDER Section 5 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2006 says that a girl under the age of 17 years will not be found guilty of an offence “by reason only of her engaging in an act of sexual intercourse”.

A boy under the age of 17 can be prosecuted for having sex.

A challenge to the constitutionality of those laws was dismissed by the Supreme Court yesterday. Making the ruling, Justice Susan Denham said that the constitution recognises that applying the same treatment to everyone is not always the best way as it could lead to direct inequality. RTÉ reports more on that case here.

Today we are asking what you think about the so-called ‘Romeo and Juliet’ legislation which allows for the prosecution of teenage boys for having sex with an underage partner but prevents the prosecution of the girls.

Should laws on underage sex be the same for boys and girls?


Poll Results:

Yes (3789)
No (257)
I don't know (162)



Note: The term statutory rape is not used in Irish legislation.

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