Plans to lower the age of consent in Northern Ireland are opposed by 73% of the population, a new poll shows. The survey was conducted by polling company ComRes on behalf of The Christian Institute.
The Northern Ireland Office is proposing to lower the age of consent from 17 to 16 in the province. Last month, assembly members approved a committee report which recommended keeping the law unchanged.
Opposition to the planned reduction is consistent across both religious communities. 80% of Protestants and 72% of Roman Catholics are against the move. A majority of the public (58%) believe that lowering the age of consent to 16 is likely to increase the number of under-16s with sexually transmitted infections.
The rate of STIs among under-16s is 2.5 times higher in England and Wales, where the age of consent is 16, compared to Northern Ireland.