France to set age of sexual consent at 15

Women demonstrate to call for a legislative change to set a minimum legal age for sexual consent on Nov. 14 2017 in front of the Justice ministry in Paris

Setting a legal age of sexual consent is one measure among a batch of new legislation regarding sexual violence, BBC News reported. According to France's current laws, sex with a child younger than 15 years old can be criminalized only if it is proven that the act was forced.

The French government has proposed to make the legal age of sexual consent 15 after a public outcry over two high-profile cases of rape involving 11-year-old girls, the country's Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa said Monday.

In a similar case, a court decided the 28-year-old accused should face charges of sexual assault rather than rape because the victim was not "physically forced" into intercourse.

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France's Minister for Gender Equality Marlene Schiappa said the government had made a decision to keep the age of consent at 15 following a citizens' consultation and the findings of an expert report. He was instead charged with a crime carrying the light sentence of sexual relations with a minor.

The push to finally set an age of consent follows cases in recent months that have shocked the country.

A debate over the age of sexual consent has been ongoing for several months now, with some suggesting it be lowered to 13. "We want to fix an age in the law below which it's always forbidden to have sex with children, with young girls". This decision comes after two high-profile cases of rape involving 11 year-old girls which has sparked outrage throughout the land.

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Last year, a 30-year-old man was acquitted of rape after a court decided that an 11-year-old he had sex with was not subjected to "constraint, threat, violence or surprise".

Once implemented it will criminalize any sexual conduct with any minor under that age.

They asked for the government to bring France into line with most other European countries by announcing a minimum age of consent, which varies but is usually between 13 and 15.

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Schiappa said she was "very glad" that the government had chosen 15, as recommended by a panel of doctors and legal experts, an age long sought by associations fighting violence against children. President Emmanuel Macron met his future wife, Brigitte, when he was around 14 and she was 38 and a teacher at his school.



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