France Moves To Make 15 Legal Age Of Consent For Sex

Howard TerryMar 07, 2018

In another case, a court initially said a 28-year-old man should face charges of sexual assault, and not rape, after saying the victim was "not physically forced to have sex".

It would be the first law of its kind in France, where there is now no law that states a child below a certain age is considered incapable of consenting to sex.

Current laws in France criminalize sex with children under the age of 15 but prosecutors must prove that the sexual act was forced, the BBC reported.

Two cases involving the 11-year-old girls provoked outrage in France after the alleged perpetrators were acquitted of rape.

Schiappa said in an interview with CNN that the French president has wanted to raise the age of sexual consent on any occasion.

When a conviction is successful, the punishment - a 20-year jail sentence - is much harsher than in cases where the victim is not a minor.

The French government has proposed to make the legal age of sexual consent 15 after a public outcry over two high-profile cases of rape involving 11-year-old girls, the country's Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa said Monday.

There had been some debate as to whether to set France's new consent threshold at 13 years or 15 years, but the latter was chosen after input from experts.

After consultations with the public and the recommendations from a panel of experts, "the government has chose to set the age at 15", Schiappa said.

France plans to fix the legal age of sexual consent as 15, meaning sex with someone younger than that would be considered rape.

In the United Kingdom the 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.

"But last month the court reversed course and said the [28-year-old] man should indeed face rape charges, though it asked for the trial to be moved to a higher court".

The new age limit is set to be approved by the government in a couple of weeks as part of package of other laws against sexual violence and harassment after discussing whether to set the age as 13 or 15, which is what groups fighting violence against children had campaigned for.

Equality Minister Marlène Schiappa has welcomed the decision, telling AFP news agency she is "very glad" with the outcome.

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