France announced plans to make 15 the legal age of consent for sex after high-profile cases including those of two men who escaped rape charges for having sex with 11-year-old girls caused national outrage.
Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa told the AFP news agency Monday that “the government has decided to set the age at 15” following public consultations and recommendations from a panel of experts.
The legislation, which will be presented to lawmakers for approval later this month, is part of a slew of government measures to tackle sexual violence, gender-based discrimination and harassment.
Adults can be charged with groping and sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison if they’re found guilty of abusing a child under 15. The more serious charge of aggravated sexual assault or rape of a child carries a sentence of up to 20 years — but coercion or violence must be proven.