A big step forward for young victims of sexual abuse

By Camille FratiLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

The bill presented in mid-January by the Minister of Justice marks several major advances that have been welcomed by the actors in the field, even if some would have liked to go even further.

An overhaul of the legislation on sexual abuse of minors has been long awaited. The last draft in 2012 had disappointed stakeholders and victims by maintaining the 10-year prescription of limitations for offences and crimes committed against minors, even if this period was now counted from the victim's age of majority. There was no increase in the penalties incurred and no specific treatment for incestuous abuse, which is only an aggravating circumstance. In other words, the reform launched by the Ministry of Justice – in the context of a global revision of the limitation periods for all offences and crimes – was eagerly awaited, as the Journal noted in an article published in June 2021.

OKaJu and Planning Familial were consulted last summer and invited to send their comments on the draft law prepared by the Ministry of Justice. Officials have been working on the draft for a year. The arrival of Sam Tanson at the head of the ministry at the end of 2019 has clearly accelerated work on a new law specifically to combat sexual abuse, in parallel with the overhaul of the youth protection legislation already begun under the ministry of Felix Braz. It was she who ensured that this dossier was put at the top of the pile, according to the ministry, and this impetus is confirmed by the actors in the field. "I really felt that she wanted to do more – she and the officials in her ministry", says Ainhoa Achutegui, president of the board of Planning Familial. "She took charge and brought to fruition a reform that was long overdue."

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