France wants to set 15 as minimum age for sexual consent

07 March 2018, 06:49 | Isaac Mcdaniel

France to set 15 as legal age of sexual consent after public outcry

France sets legal age of sexual consent at 15 after child sex outrage

Setting a legal age of sexual consent is one measure among a batch of new legislation regarding sexual violence, BBC News reported.

In December, Macron said he would push for the age of sexual consent and the presumption of rape to both be set at 15, saying: "Our criminal law contains intolerable ambiguities".

The French government is proposing a law that would say that anyone under the age of 15 can not consent to sex, after widespread shock at two recent cases involving 11-year-old girls.

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.

A public uproar over cases involving men who had sex with 11-year-old girls helped spark the legislative change.

The announcement was made by France's Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa on Monday and will mean that any adult engaging in sexual activity with a child under the age of 15 can be prosecuted.

Last November the country was left shocked when a 30-year-old man who had sex with an 11 year old girl was acquitted of rape, after the court found that she had not been the subject of "constraint, threat, violence, or surprise".

Lawyers for the suspect Marc Goudarzian and Sandrine Parise-Heideiger left answer reporters at the hall of justice last month in Pontoise outside Paris
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In October 2017, she told CNN that she wanted to address rape culture.

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.

They asked for the government to bring France into line with most other European countries by announcing a minimum age of consent, which varies but is usually between 13 and 15.

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".

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

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

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