France To Set Age of Consent at 15

France sets legal age of sexual consent at 15 after child sex outrage

In November, a 30-year-old man was acquitted of the rape of an 11-year-old girl after the court determined she had not been subjected to "constraint, threat, violence or surprise". The defendants in those cases dodged harsh punishments because prosecutors could not prove the victims were physically forced to engage in the acts.

The issue of consent was brought to the spotlight after critics and lawmakers said French laws had allowed two adult men to escape charges after they were accused of sex with underage girls.

France's Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa has announced that the government has made a decision to set the age of consent at 15.

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.

France has no legal age of consent, meaning there is no such concept as "statutory rape" - it only has an "age of sexual majority", set at 15.

Setting a legal age of sexual consent is one measure among a batch of new legislation regarding sexual violence, BBC News reported.

The victim in that case was also an 11-year-old girl.

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The new law will be presented to Council of Ministers on March 21.

In the United Kingdom there are also additional laws stating that children under the age of 13 can never consent to sexual activity.

The government of France has announced that it will institute a minimum age of consent, after two high-profile rape cases highlighted its absence from the nation's laws. President Emmanuel Macron, among others, argued for it to be older.

"The Bill will contain a clause stating an age limit below which it will always be deemed that a child was forced", Schiappa said, supporting the reform.

She said: "We want to fix an age in the law below which it's always forbidden to have sex with children, with young girls, below which it's always considered as a rape". Once implemented it will criminalize any sexual conduct with any minor under that age.

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.

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