France changes child rape law
Published : Saturday, 17 April, 2021 at 10:14 AM Count : 415
The French parliament has adopted legislation that characterises sex with a child under the age of 15 as rape and punishable by up to 20 years in jail, bringing its penal code closer in line with many other Western nations.
While the age of consent was previously 15, prosecutors in France used to be required to prove sex was non-consensual to obtain a rape conviction.
“This is a historic law for our children and our society,” justice minister Eric Dupond-Moretti told the National Assembly on Thursday.
There had been concerns from some lawmakers that an age of consent below which sex automatically constituted rape might criminalise a consensual sexual relationship between a minor and a person only a few years older.
As a consequence, a “Romeo and Juliet” clause that allows for sexual relations between a minor and an individual up to five years older. The clause will not apply in cases of sexual assault.
The legislation also considers incestuous sex with a minor under 18 to be rape.