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France To Set The Age Of Consent To 15 Years Old

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France To Set The Age Of Consent To 15 Years Old

France is about to set the age of consent to 15 years old.

Though it is a criminal offence to have sexual relations with someone under the age of 15, it can carry quite a lenient sentence, as it must be proved that violence or coercion has taken place.

This move will now mean that having sex with anyone under the age of 15 is classed as rape, meaning perpetrators will face tougher sentences.

The groundbreaking move was announced by Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti, who said the those responsible for these horrific acts could no longer hide behind the defence of consent.

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Speaking to France-2 television, he said: "An act of sexual penetration by an adult on a minor under 15 will be considered a rape."

Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti. Credit: PA
Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti. Credit: PA

According to reports, Mr Dupond-Moretti said that the change would, however, include a five-year buffer, allowing teenagers in relationships to have sexual intercourse when one of them turns 18.

The Justice Ministry says it will also 'ensure that victims of the same perpetrator do not receive different legal treatment'.

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The changes must now be finalised by the legislature in order to become enshrined in law, though it is expected to come into force in the next three months.

Reacting to the announcement, Fatima Benomar, whose group Les Effrontees has lobbied for a change to the law, said it was an important day.

She said: "It's very good that there is this revived debate, that there is an idea of a minimum age (of consent).

"This will make adults more responsible."

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Olivier Duhamel. Credit: PA
Olivier Duhamel. Credit: PA

Over the past few years, there has been growing pressure to introduce an age of consent, though attempts failed three years ago in the midst of the #MeToo movement.

However, last month, the cause gained traction once again after allegations of incestuous sexual abuse involving French political expert, Olivier Duhamel, emerged.

According to reports, an investigation regarding Duhamel was opened into alleged 'rapes and sexual abuses by a person exercising authority' over a child.

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As a result of the accusations, Duhamel stepped down from a number of his positions, including as a TV commentator and the head of National Foundation of Political Sciences.

The accusations led to the #MeTooInceste and #MeTooGay movement in France, with thousands of people sharing their own stories of abuse by older men.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, crime, France, Politics, court

Dominic Smithers
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