Published: Tue, March 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

French Government To Set The Age Of Sexual Consent At 15

French Government To Set The Age Of Sexual Consent At 15

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

The court found that the alleged victim was an 11-year-old girl was not subjected to "constraint, threat, violence or surprise", before the sexual act took place.

According to laws that are now practiced in the country, prosecutors have to prove that any sexual relations with someone under the age of 15 was non-consensual in order to be convicted of rape.

The uproar over two recent cases of men accused of having sex with 11-year-old girls has led to this changes being considered. In order to charge an offender with rape, prosecutors must prove the sex was forced.

Sentences are the same for sexual assaults of minors and non-minors, but rape convictions carry much harsher punishments.

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The French government is set to approve a package of new laws aimed at curbing sexual violence and harassment in the coming weeks.

She said she was "very glad" the government had chosen 15, as recommended by doctors and legal experts, an age long called for by associations fighting violence against children.

In another similar case, a 28-year-old man was charged simply with sex with a minor. She said a new law would be presented to Council of Ministers - France's equivalent of a cabinet - on March 21. The limit is also supported by President Emmanuel Macron.

Officials had been discussing whether to set the age of consent to 13 or 15 and ultimately sided with child welfare groups.

According to a report by Le Figaro newspaper, Minister of Solidarity and Health, Agnès Buzyn has said that by setting a legal age of sexual consent, it would allow for a "collective awareness" and that it would also become clear, what was "legal and illegal" to everyone. However, in February, the court reversed the decision and said the man should indeed face rape charges, although it asked for the trial to be moved to a higher court.

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