Letter: Sex, Sugar and underage girls

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The Independent Online
From Mrs Valerie Riches

Sir: There has been an understandable shock-and-horror reaction about the "marriage" of a 13-year-old girl to an 18-year-old young man, an arrangement apparently approved by her parents. The authorities consider the matter to be so serious that the girl is deemed to be in need of the care and protection of the courts.

In this country, the Government has a policy of providing "protection" to girls under the age of consent (16) in the form of free condoms, the Pill and post-coital contraception, in many cases behind the backs of their parents. In the year 1993-94, the number of under 16-year-old attenders at family planning clinics amounted to 37,000, an increase of 37 per cent over the previous year. These girls are subjects of unlawful sexual intercourse and are, arguably, in less stable relationships than the 13-year-old girl in question. To be consistent, there should be outrage about their plight - but not a whisper of concern about them.

Yours sincerely,

Valerie Riches

Director

Family and Youth Concern

Oxford

25 January

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