Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

France Proposes Setting 15 as Legal Age of Sexual Consent

France Proposes Setting 15 as Legal Age of Sexual Consent

Once approved by Parliament, the new law is expected to go into effect within the next few weeks as part of a broader package of laws aimed at reducing sexual violence and harassment.

France's current laws allow for prosecution of those who have sex with children under 15, but rape charges required proof that the sex was forced, The Washington Post reported.

Paris: France plans to set the legal age of sexual consent as 15 after two-high profile cases involving 11-year-old girls, according to the country's Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa.

The government's women's affairs office said Tuesday that it has chose to set the threshold at 15 in a bill to be presented to parliament later this month. He was instead charged with a crime carrying the light sentence of sexual relations with a minor.

She said: "We want to fix an age in the law below which it's always forbidden to have sex with children, with young girls, below which it's always considered as a rape".

After that case made headlines children's rights group Le Voix de l'Enfant said in a statement: "The question of consent or its absence should never even be asked when it comes to rape victims who are minors".

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Schiappa said she was "very glad" the country's government had chosen the age as 15, as recommended by a panel of doctors and legal experts - an age that has been long sought by associations fighting violence against children.

Schiappa told reporters she was "very glad" that the government chose to formalize the age of consent, a move that she hopes will combat the prevalence of rape culture in France.

Earlier, officials had discussed setting it at 13.

Last year, a 30-year-old man was acquitted of rape after a court decided that an 11-year-old he had sex with was not subjected to "constraint, threat, violence or surprise". President Emmanuel Macron also supports the limit.

The issue of consent was brought to the spotlight after critics and lawmakers said French laws had allowed two adult men to escape charges after they were accused of sex with underage girls.

But the same court reversed its decision last month, saying the accused should face rape charges.

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