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Politics

Catholic Church says Scottish governments' new guidelines on underage sex are 'morally bankrupt'

by Alex Collett

An official from the Catholic Church in Scotland has called the Scottish government's new guidance on underage sex "morally bankrupt".

The Scottish Government's National Child Protection Guidelines has told teachers, social work staff and police to "respect the privacy" of children as young as 13 who engage in underage sexual activity.

They also say that their parents should not automatically be informed.

The age of consent in Scotland is 16, therefore sexual activity between children aged 13, 14 and 15 is illegal.

The guidelines tell professionals working with children, that a child's "wishes and feelings" must be taken into account when deciding whether to inform parents or involve other public agencies.

The guidelines state: "Information may lawfully be shared where there is an overriding interest which outweighs the duty of confidentiality. 

"Overriding confidentiality must be justified and proportionate, taking into account the nature and probability of risk to the young person and/or others."

However, the Catholic Church says the guidance works against child protections protocols.

A spokesperson for the Catholic Church in Scotland said in a statement: "This morally bankrupt guidance entirely ignores the statutory protection given to children and should be revised immediately. 

"Believing children are equipped to make moral judgements about how they behave sexually, fundamentally undermines child protection."
 

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