France To Change Age Of Consent To 15 Following Rape Uproar

07 March, 2018, 11:55 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Lawmakers and child-protection groups have been urging the government to set a minimum age of consent as is the case in many European countries with suggested ages ranging from 13 to 15

It would be the first such law in France, which now does not have a rule saying a child under a certain age is considered incapable of consenting to sex.

In one of the cases, a 30-year-old man was acquitted of raping an 11-year-old in November.

The move was welcomed by France's equality minister, Marlène Schiappa.

Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa said the government "has chose to set the age at 15", after consultations with the public and an expert panel. In order to charge an offender with rape, prosecutors must prove the sex was forced.

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The new law will be presented to the Council of Ministers - France's equivalent of a cabinet - later this month.

Ms Schiappa told AFP news agency that her ministry was "very glad" that the higher age was chosen.

The new requirement is expected go into effect following government approval of a package of sexual violence and gender discrimination laws in the coming weeks.

In a similar case, also involving an 11-year-old girl, a man who was 28 at the time of the alleged offense faced lesser charges of sexual relations with a minor, but not rape.

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The UK's age of sexual consent is 16, but children under the age of 13 have additional legal protections that declare they can never consent to sexual activity. Although the court later admitted that the man should be charged for rape, it lingered make the ruling and asked to move the trial to a higher court. Shiappa and French president Emanuel Macron had been considering the change since October 2017.

Speaking previously Schiappa said: "The law will mean that "below a certain age, there can be no debate, ever, on the sexual consent of a child, and that any child below a certain age would automatically be considered as raped or sexually assaulted".

Under other legal codes (including that of the United States), "forcible rape" is defined as someone forcing another into having sex against their will, while "statutory rape" is sex with someone who may have been willing, but who is not considered qualified to give legal consent because of age.

In the United Kingdom there are also additional laws stating that children under the age of 13 can never consent to sexual activity.

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