France to set legal age of sexual consent at 15

Marsha Scott
March 7, 2018

France plans to make 15 the age of sexual consent after a public outcry over two cases of sex involving 11-year-old girls, Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa said on Monday. In addressing rape culture, she told CNN, "We want to fix an age in the law below which it's always forbidden to have sex with children, with young girls".

This means prosecutors have a hard time charging or convicting child molesters when the case involves preteens, who by France's law were somehow able to consent to sex with adults.

France's Equality Minister, Marlène Schiappa, is "glad" with the decision.

Although the age of consent is now set at 15, prosecutors have to prove in court that it was non-consensual in order to secure a rape conviction. The court came to the conclusion that she had not been subjected to "constraint, threat, violence, or surprise". This carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of €75,000 (£66,000; $87,000). Instead, the men were charged with sexual abuse of a minor, a lesser charge.

"Since then lawmakers and child-protection groups have been urging the government to set a minimum age of consent, as is the case in many European countries, with suggested ages ranging from 13 to 15".

In two recent legal cases in France, adult men were accused of having sex with 11-year-old girls who were considered consenting under French law.

More news: Racist podcast leads to Beaver County native's removal from Florida classroom
More news: China Increases Annual Defense Budget, Remains Second Biggest Economy in World
More news: Lebanese PM visits Saudi Arabia in pursuit of "best ties"

But last month, the same court reversed its decision, saying the accused should indeed face rape charges - though it asked for the trial to be moved to a higher court.

The government is to approve the new age limit as part of a package of other laws against sexual violence and harassment in the coming weeks.

In the United Kingdom the age of sexual consent is 16, but children under the age of 13 have additional legal protections that declare they can never consent to sexual activity.

The law, once implemented, will set the age at which a person can not agree to any sexual intercourse at 15 and will criminalize any sexual activity with any minor younger than that age, had passed after public consultation and expert recommendation.

French President Emmanuel Macron also said he favors setting the limit at 15 years.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

Discuss This Article