UK

Barbara Hewson Age Of Consent Row: NSPCC Hits Back At Lawyer's Claims

10/05/2013 10:14 BST | Updated 10/05/2013 10:17 BST
PA

Barbara Hewson, the lawyer whose controversial views about sex attacks sparked huge debate, has now been challenged by the NSPCC.

Writing for The Huffington Post, the organisation's Head of Strategy & Development for Sexual Abuse, Jon Brown, said Hewson's views "begger belief".

Earlier this week Hewson called for the age of consent to be lowered to 13 while claiming Operation Yewtree is a "far graver threat" to society than Jimmy Savile.

She also argued the "witch-hunt" against ageing celebrities echoed the Soviet Union. She said the "low-level misdemeanours" Stuart Hall was charged with were "nothing like serious crime" and said the police and society were "fetishising victimhood".

MORE: 'Now somebody wants me raped': Twitter Abuse For Barbara Hewson After Article

Hewson, a barrister at Hardwicke in London, said complainants in sexual offences should no longer be anonymous.

But today Brown writes:

"I agree, they are less serious offences when compared to rape but they are still sexual offences and the impact on the victims can be huge.

"Let's get one myth out of the way. The age of consent is not there to criminalise young people who have sex with each other - it exists to protect them from sexual predators like Savile.

"The implication here is that a reasonable defence for committing minor offences is that the person didn't do something even worse. Following that line one could argue that it's ok to go shoplifting because you could have committed an armed robbery, but didn't.

"So it's sad to see these outdated and simply ill-informed views that would be shocking to hear from anyone, but coming from a highly experienced barrister simply beggar belief."

The the full blog here.