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When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Change in Law for youth in Spain

Children are included during Carnival
Many will it hard to believe but the age on consent here in Spain is 13 - however that is about to change as am amendment proposed by the Ministry of Justice will increase that to 16. The bill should hopefully go through by the end of this month - it has already had approval in the first round of voting in parliament and set to become law by late Autumn. Penalties for the crime will remain unchanged - up to 12 years in prison. However, if the "children", and that is what they are, are of similar age and it is consensual then it will not be deemed as a crime. Ana Mateo, the Health Minister also announced that the minimum age of marriage will go from 14 years old to 16 years old.

Spain has one of Europe´s lowest age of sexual consent and until 1995 it was just 12 - that´ll shock most parents I bet. At that age they are still children and far to immature to make decisions that could potentially ruin the rest of their lives. However, surprising there is not an epidemic of teenage pregnancies like in the UK. Why..... in my opinion one of two explanations.

Penya in Benidorm during last years fiesta
Firstly, there is no benefit culture here. You are not handed free housing or money from the government which is most definitely viewed as an easy way of life for many gym-slip mums in the UK. Secondly, life is much more family orientated here and being part of a penya keeps the community spirit going. Penyas are associations which every village has and they fundraise and organise events for the village fiesta. Many youngsters also belong to the village band and you will see them out on the streets playing their instruments for virtually any occasion. It gives them a sense of worth and inclusion. Also the girls often become village queens and princesses, attending all the important occasions in their beautiful dresses - which cost hundreds and hundreds of euros may I add. But it is a real honour for the child and family and the cost certainly doesn´t put many off!

Im not saying that you don´t get groups of youths loitering on street corners, of course you do, but not like anything on the scale back home. Plus there is no drinking culture among the Spanish youth - I rarely see rowdy drunk teenagers and if you do, you can bet that in the vast majority of the cases they are Brits or other nationalities.

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