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France Passes ‘Historic’ Sexual Consent Law To Define Sex With Under-15s As Rape

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 16 Apr 2021 14:26
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France has passed a sexual consent law that deems sex with anyone under the age of 15 as rape.

The age of consent has long been 15 in the country, but previously it had to be proven if the sex was non-consensual for a rape conviction to be given.

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Under the new legislation, a person can face up to 20 years in prison if they’re found to have had sex with someone 15 or under – a child of this age cannot be considered to have consensually engaged in a sexual act.

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Under the bill, sex is defined as ‘any act of sexual penetration of whatever nature’, including oral sex. The legislation also considers incestuous sex with a minor under 18 to be rape, The Guardian reports.

Justice minister Éric Dupond-Moretti has since applauded the new change and described it as ‘an historic law for our children and our society’.

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He added, ‘No adult aggressor will be able to claim the consent of a minor younger than 15 years old.’

According to The Guardian, the vote was unanimous at yesterday’s reading, April 15.

Some people had expressed concerns the new legislation may see someone behind bars if they sleep with someone under 15 and they’re only slightly older than them. To address this, the new ruling has a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ clause, which allows sexual relations between a minor and an individual up to five years older.

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Dupond-Moretti said of this clause, ‘I do not want to be sending a kid of 18 before a court because he had a consenting relationship with a girl of 14-and-a-half.’

This will not apply to causes of sexual assault, however.

The law, which was proposed by Emmanuel Macron’s government, was first approved last month and received support from all parties.

Part of the new law also clamps down on online paedophilia, France 24 reports, which could see someone found trying to groom children under the age of 15 online subject to a fine of €150,000 (£130,414) or facing up to ten years in prison.

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The issue of consent has long been a debate in France but came to a head in 2018 after a 28-year-old man wasn’t charged with rape for having sex with an 11-year-old girl he met in a park. This caused public outcry, especially as sex between adults and minors has often been ‘shrugged off’ in the country, France 24 writes.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, France, Rape, World News

Credits

The Guardian and 2 others
  1. The Guardian

    France toughens age of consent laws to define sex with under-15s as rape

  2. France 24

    French parliament approves landmark bill setting age of sexual consent at 15

  3. The Guardian

    French MPs approve ‘non-consent’ law to protect children from sexual abuse