Denmark to define sex without explicit consent as rape

Under prior legislation, prosecutors had to show the rapist had used violence against someone who was unable to resist.

The new law passed by parliament widened the circumstances that could constitute rape [File: Andreas Mortensen/Reuters]
The new law passed by parliament widened the circumstances that could constitute rape [File: Andreas Mortensen/Reuters]

Denmark has strengthened its rape laws by criminalising sex without explicit consent.

The new law passed by Parliament on Thursday widened the circumstances that could constitute rape – under the old legislation, prosecutors had to show the rapist had used violence or attacked someone who was unable to resist.

“Now it will be clear, that if both parties do no consent to sex, then it’s rape,” Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup said in a statement.

“It is a groundbreaking day for gender equality in Denmark that we have now got a new consent law,” Haekkerup said.

The Justice Ministry has said that a prosecutor will still have the burden of proof.

A similar law introduced in neighbouring Sweden in 2018 resulted in a 75 percent rise in rape convictions.

Around 11,400 women a year are raped or subjected to attempted rape in Denmark, according to the ministry’s figures.

Amnesty International said Denmark has become the 12th country in Europe to define sex without explicit consent as rape.

“This is a great day for women in Denmark as it consigns outdated and dangerous rape laws to the dustbin of history and helps to end pervasive stigma and endemic impunity for this crime,” the campaign group’s Women’s Rights Researcher, Anna Blus, said.

The law, passed without any abstentions or opposition will take effect on January 1.

Source: News Agencies

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