France To Make 15 Legal Age Of Consent For Sex

France To Make 15 Legal Age Of Consent For Sex

France To Make 15 Legal Age Of Consent For Sex

According to current French laws, prosecutors have to prove sex under the age of 15 was non-consensual in order to obtain a rape conviction; however, that will change under the new Bill.

After public consultations and the recommendation of a panel of experts, "the government has chose to set the age at 15", Schiappa told AFP.

The new laws will be presented to the Council of Ministers, France's equivalent of a cabinet, later in March, reports say.

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

Schiappa said she was "very glad" that the government had chosen 15, as recommended by a panel of doctors and legal experts, an age long sought by associations fighting violence against children. Two men in two separate cases were acquitted of rape charges after French courts ruled that the 11-year-old girls the men, ages 30 and 28, allegedly had sex with were not physically forced to have sex.

Outcry over the latest cases led to calls for an age to be set below which all sex is seen as non-consenting and therefore rape (this is 13 in the UK). 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. Furthermore, this formal decree will also pit the onus on the adult who would have to prove that the child gave consent, as opposed to the victim having to give valid evidence supporting their claims of coercion or threat.

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". "Below which it's always considered as a rape", she said.

The government has vowed to pass a series of laws to combat sexual violence, with this one expected to be approved in the coming weeks.

This new law will effectively create a new threshold, which will criminalize sexual activity with a minor under 15, as well as a legal assumption that the child was coerced.

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