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France Proposes Setting 15 as Legal Age of Sexual Consent

Defendants are brought into court by police at the opening of the child sex trial in Angers western France

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.

It would be the first law of its kind in France, where there is now no law that states a child below a certain age is considered incapable of consenting to sex.

According to current French laws, prosecutors have to prove sex under the age of 15 was non-consensual in order to obtain a rape conviction; however, that will change under the new Bill.

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

The French government has proposed a law to set 15 as the age of consent for sex following two high-profile cases in which men escaped rape convictions despite having intercourse with 11-year-old girls.

This decision on the age of consent comes after pressure has been piled on the government from lawmakers and child protection groups.

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Schiappa said she was "very glad" the country's government had chosen the age as 15, as recommended by a panel of doctors and legal experts - an age that has been long sought by associations fighting violence against children.

The new age limit, part of a package of laws aimed at curbing sexual violence and sexism, is to be approved by the government in the coming weeks.

Schiappa told reporters she was "very glad" that the government made a decision to formalize the age of consent, a move that she hopes will combat the prevalence of rape culture in France.

France plans to fix the legal age of sexual consent as 15, meaning sex with someone younger than that would be considered rape.

The court found that the alleged victim was an 11-year-old girl was not subjected to "constraint, threat, violence or surprise", before the sexual act took place. President Emmanuel Macron met his future wife, Brigitte, when he was around 14 and she was 38 and a teacher at his school. Although the court later admitted that the man should be charged for rape, it lingered make the ruling and asked to move the trial to a higher court.

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

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