Raise age of consent to protect youth, activists urge
Capitol One, By Liam Gerofsky, Jan. 18, 2002
OTTAWA Diane Sowden's daughter ran away from home and was lured into prostitution at the age of 13, after getting involved with a 27-year-old man.
"I went to the police to get her back and they said they couldn't do anything because there was no proof that they were sexually active."
"At 14, she became pregnant. So I went back to the police and said, 'She's pregnant.' And they said, 'Well, it's too late to do anything now, because the legal age of sexual consent is 14.'"
That was almost nine years ago and Sowden says she could not believe 14 was the legal age of consent in Canada.
The Criminal Code states that a person between 14 and 17 can consent to sexual activity as long as: no relationship of trust, authority or dependency exists; there is no payment or offer of payment for sex; and there is no anal sex.
Sowden believes Canada's current age of consent leaves young teenagers vulnerable to sexual predators.
She founded a community group in her home of Coquitlam, B.C., the Children of the Street Society. It is lobbying the federal government to increase the age of consent to 16.
"As a parent, I know there is a huge difference in maturity between a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old. They are not as easily manipulated (at 16)."
Another group, the Canada Family Action Coalition is leading a similar campaign. The group is based in Calgary, and its mandate is to see Judeo-Christian morals restored in Canada.
Coalition executive director Brian Rushfeldt says he is concerned Read More ..d Read More ..edators are using the Internet and other methods to "prey" on younger children.
"And, if it's legal to prey on a 14-year-old and convince them to be involved in a sexual act, and there is no repercussions for that particular predator," says Rushfeldt, "we've got a law that protects the predators instead of the children."
The coalition is distributing some 1 million postcards across the country. Canadians can sign their names to the cards and send a message to Justice Minister Martin Cauchon demanding Parliament raise the age of consent to 18.
"Clearly, we feel this age would be very consistent with how we, as a culture, look at dealing with children up until the age 18," Rushfeldt says, citing the voting age, and the legal age for buying cigarettes and alcohol.
Senator Landon Pearson, a federal advisor on children's rights, is not convinced raising the age of sexual consent will eliminate sexual exploitation.
Her research shows that the average age of first sexual activity is around 15. Raising the age of consent would criminalize a significant percentage of the adolescent population, Pearson argues.
Sowden and Rushfeldt insist that any changes to the Criminal Code would ensure teens engaged in consenting sexual activity with their peers won't be criminalized, as long as they are within two years in age of each other.
Pearson's main concern with blaming the sexual exploitation of children on the age of consent is that it is "a bit of a red herring." The federal government should, instead, occupy itself with improving the Criminal Code, to make it easier for authorities to crack down on predators.
"As a society, we're not too good at getting after some of the men who are already exploiting kids."
Sowden wants changes made to the Criminal Code that would allow a social worker or police officer to apprehend a young person for child protection. As in spousal abuse situations, authorities could make recommendations to the Crown to lay charges against pimps and johns, even if the victim refuses to co-operate.
Sowden and Rushfeldt both say such changes to the Criminal Code, along with raising the age of sexual consent, would ensure Canada's youth are protected from predators.
During the spring session of Parliament, the Canada Family Action Coalition plans to present the results
of their postcard campaign, and ask for a motion to raise the age of consent.
This could lead to a long, complicated debate, Pearson says.
"When you look at consent, you are looking at a statement about an individual, and when is that individual old enough to consent," she says.
"And I don't think we know for sure. Nor could we ever probably know."
The Canada Family Action Coalition campaign site
http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/library/PRBpubs/prb993-e.htm#_(2.2)" Library of Parliament research paper on age of consent
Lesbians who split up sue sperm donor for child financial support
Two lesbians sue sperm donor for child financial support when the lesbians split up. Read More ..
Dr. Sandford L. Braver and Diane O'Connell
This is the result of the largest federally funded 8 year study of the issues confronting parents and their children in the United States.
Shattering the Myths. The surprising truth about fathers, children and divorce. Read More ..
PA News (U.K.), July 3, 2004
A key court decision to grant a father custody of his daughters after the mother flouted contact orders for four years was today welcomed by campaigners.
Fathers 4 Justice said that the High Court ruling was a vital victory and called for more judges to take a similar stance when faced with resistant parents.
The comments come after Mrs Justice Bracewell transferred the residence of two young girls to their father because the mother persistently refused him contact, despite court orders. Read More ..
by Dr. Hazel McBride Ph.D. June 9-10, 1995
Violence and Abuse within the Family: The Neglected Issues
A public hearing sponsored by The Honourable Senator Anne C. Cools on June 9-10, 1995 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Transcript of Dr. Hazel McBride's presentation on the relationship between family conflict and suicide rates among men. Read More ..
The Sydney Morning Herald
September 12, 2008
Wayne Warburton, a research fellow at Macquarie University's Children and Families Research Centre, said: "Mothers have a really powerful effect on the way their kids view the world and themselves, probably because kids spend Read More ..me with their mothers, especially in the crucial early years." Dr Warburton asked 441 university students to fill out detailed questionnaires on the parenting styles of their mothers and fathers, and on their own patterns of thinking. He asked them to recall 72 parenting behaviours, including "making a child feel ashamed", being unloving or rejecting, and frequently telling the child they were stupid or would fail. He also asked questions designed to uncover destructive thinking patterns in the students, such as being "clingy" out of a fear of being abandoned. He found young adults were two-thirds as likely to develop unhelpful patterns of thinking if the toxic parenting they had experienced came from their father rather than their mother. Read More ..