§ Mr. Ingram
[holding answer 23 July 1997]: The age of heterosexual consent was raised from 16 to 17 years by the Children and Young Persons Act (Northern Ireland) 1950. The then Minister of Home Affairs accepted a recommendation in the report of the Lynn committee, "The Protection of the Young and the Treatment of Young Offenders", that the age of consent be raised to 17 years. The Government are not aware of any public pressure of demands from within Northern Ireland to lower the age or consent to 16 years.
The age of homosexual consent was reduced from 21 to 18 years, for the United Kingdom, by section 145 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
§ Kate Hoey
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people over the last two years were convicted of consensual sexual offences relating to(a) 16-year-olds and (b) 17–year-olds; and if she will indicate how many cases involved (i) heterosexual and (ii) homosexual acts. 740W
§ Mr. Ingram
[holding answer 23 July 1997]: The information is not available in the form requested. However, in 1995 and 1996, 16 and nine persons, respectively, were convicted of unlawful and carnal knowledge of a girl under 17. The figure for 1995 includes one 17-year-old and, for 1996, one 17-year-old and one 16-year-old. Information is not available about the ages of persons convicted of, or involved in, homosexual offences.