Underage sex and the best interests of the child: how both excessive control and neglected needs could pose threats to the sexual autonomy and wellbeing of young people.

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Abstract

This article discusses how both excessive control and neglected needs pose threats to adolescents’ sexual autonomy and wellbeing. The debate explores the dilemma of under-age sex; the responsibilities of the State; parental responsibilities; and the best interests of the child. Using Ireland as a case study and using case vignettes, the article explores the tensions between autonomy and protection; capacity versus best interests. Difficulties resolving these tensions have an impact on young people in that they are often not given the support or information they need. The article concludes by suggesting a way forward that prioritises young people’s right to comprehensive sexuality education, sexual wellbeing and development of self-efficacy
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe senator George J. Mitchell institute for global peace, security and justice working paper series
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2018

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