Saturday, 21 July, 2018

France to enact statutory rape law, setting age of consent at 15

Women demonstrate to call for a legislative change to set a minimum legal age for sexual consent on Nov. 14 2017 in front of the Justice ministry in Paris France to enact statutory rape law, setting age of consent at 15
Melinda Barton | 06 March, 2018, 22:32

Current laws in France criminalize sex with children under the age of 15.

France's Equality Minister Marlene Shippa admits that "I think we must reaffirm the existing law that sets the age of sexual majority at 15, and make sure that there are trials for rape and not for sex assault".

The French government has agreed to set the age of sexual consent at 15 years old after public fury over two cases involving girls as young as 11.

The law, once implemented, will set the age at which a person can not agree to any sexual intercourse at 15 and will criminalize any sexual activity with any minor younger than that age, had passed after public consultation and expert recommendation.

The new law is expected to be implemented as early as next week.

The law is part of other legislation to combat sexual violence and harassment, including a longer statute of limitations to allow child victims more time to come forward, Newsweek reported.

"What characterizes a civilization is also what is outlawed", the minister said.

France will fix the legal age of consent at 15, meaning sex with anyone younger is automatically considered rape.

Any sexual act by an adult with a child under 15 can be prosecuted as a sexual offence.

Ms Schiappa told AFP news agency that her ministry was "very glad" that the higher age was chosen. "Below which it's always considered as a rape".

In another similar case, a 28-year-old man was charged simply with sex with a minor.

In a report delivered to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, the group of lawyers, legal practitioners, doctors and childcare professionals stated this age "does not seem excessive in view of the double imperative to strengthen the protection of minors from sexual offenses and to clearly prohibit sexual abuse". Shiappa and French president Emanuel Macron had been considering the change since October 2017.

Schiappa confirmed: "The bill will contain a clause stating an age limit below which it will always be deemed that a child was forced".