§ Dr. Peters
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he has considered representations from the Ely Diocesan Association for Moral Welfare and similar bodies, urging the amendment of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1922, so that the age of consent may be raised to 17 years; and whether such an amendment will be made as soon as possible so that girls up to the age of 17 years can be dealt with by the juvenile courts; (2) whether he will take steps to 1359W amend the present law so as to abolish the defence permitted to a person of or under the age of 23 years of reasonable belief that a girl was of or above the age of 16 years and that the consent of a young person under 17 years of age shall be no defence to a charge of indecent assault.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I have considered the representations referred to by my hon. Friend. Legislation on this subject would be highly controversial and would not, in my opinion, be justified in present circumstances. As regards the question of the age up to which girls can be dealt with by the juvenile courts, a girl up to the age of 17 can, under the existing law, be brought before a juvenile court on the ground that her parent or guardian is not exercising proper care and guardianship or that she is exposed to moral danger.