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The deputies set this Wednesday at 15 years the threshold of "non-consent" for minors victims of sexual acts by adults, during work in committee on a bill from the Senate aimed at strengthening protection against these abuses.

This text will be examined in the hemicycle from March 15.

Under the age of 15, the non-consent of a young person will be presumed, "even if these acts were not imposed on him by violence, coercion, threat or surprise", according to a government amendment adopted during the examination of the text by the National Assembly Law Commission.

Thus, "no adult can avail themselves of the consent" of a minor under 15, summed up the Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti.

The deputies made it explicit in the text that “oral genital acts” were also referred to in the definition of rape, in order to clarify the case law.

However, these provisions only apply when “the age difference between the author and the minor is at least five years”.

"Romeo and Juliet clause"

This drafting, nicknamed "Romeo and Juliet clause", aims not to "criminalize adolescent love affairs" freely consented, explained the Minister of Justice.

The age threshold is raised to 18 in the event of “incestuous” acts - a term that parliamentarians also insisted on including as such instead of an allusive initial wording.

This bill has already been adopted at first reading by the Senate unanimously, but with an age threshold set at 13 years.

The National Assembly, for its part, unanimously voted on February 18 for another text on the protection of minors against sexual assault.

However, the government has chosen to continue the legislative procedure on the basis of the bill from the upper house, even if it means amending it in depth, arguing that it would make it possible to legislate more quickly.

President Emmanuel Macron has promised a strengthening of the law in the face of these acts, in a context of strong repercussions in the opinion of cases of rape of minors and incest.


Eric Dupond-Moretti wants systematic investigations into crimes and sexual offenses against minors


The Unanimous Assembly votes on a step-by-step text to toughen the law against sexual violence against minors

  • Minor

  • Society

  • Sexual violence

  • Incest

  • National Assembly