French Government To Set The Age Of Sexual Consent At 15

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

Current laws in France criminalize sex with children under the age of 15.

The move was welcomed by France's equality minister, Marlène Schiappa.

The government's women's affairs office said Tuesday that it has chose to set the threshold at 15 in a bill to be presented to parliament later this month. In order for a rape charge to be handed down, prosecutors must prove without a doubt that the sexual act was forced.

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

Two cases involving the 11-year-old girls provoked outrage in France after the alleged perpetrators were acquitted of rape.

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.

In another case, a man, age 28, was found to have had sex with another girl who was eleven, and was charged with "sexual abuse" but not rape; her family had filed a rape complaint, but investigators determined that the sex was consensual.

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"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.

But last month the court reversed course and said the man should indeed face rape charges, though it asked for the trial to be moved to a higher court.

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

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".

The government has vowed to pass a series of laws to combat sexual violence, with this one expected to be approved in the coming weeks.

The UK's 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. 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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