Government proposes tougher rape penalties

The opportunistic rape of defenseless victims will be punished as severely as those that involve coercion under the new law

The article is written with Syrian refugees, among others, in mind (photo: iStock)
February 4th, 2013 2:03 pm| by admin
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Individuals convicted of raping unconscious, sleeping, or heavily intoxicated victims will face tougher punishments under a new a law that Justice Minister Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne) will present this week.

Perpetrators of opportunistic rape, in which the rapist is not responsible for their victim’s vulnerable position, can currently only be sentenced to four years in prison, whereas rapists who coerce their victims can be sentence to between eight and 12 years.

Bødskov’s proposal to end this differentiation has received broad political support.

“We agree with the government,” Venstre’s justice spokesperson Karsten Lauritzen told Politiken newspaper. “We would like to increase the punishment for crime directed at people. I have a hard time understanding why the punishment for attacking a person in a vulnerable state should be any less.”

Last November the Justice Ministry’s criminal code committee, Straffelovrådet, produced a 900-page report that contained recommendations for changes to the law governing sexual crimes.

Increasing rape penalties was one of the recommendations that was approved by the government and that will be presented to parliament this week.

The government also decided to follow the committee’s recommendation to not criminalise buying sex, much to the disappointment of many Socialdemokraterne MPs who had campaigned for a ban.

Bødskov decided not to follow the committee’s recommendation to abolish a law making it punishable to sell pornographic images or objects to children under the age of 16. The committee argued that there were already other laws that protect minors from inappropriate material.

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