Danish government wants harsher punishments for false rape accusations

Parliament is voting on new bill against rape today

Parliament is voting today on a governmental proposal that is expected to increase the length of time sentenced rapists spend in prison, while also introducing harsher penalties for those who make false rape accusations.

Currently the sentence typically handed down in rape cases is two and a half years – in particularly violent cases, longer sentences are possible. The new proposal would increase the standard sentence by a year.

A parliamentary majority agrees that punishments for the sexual abuse of adults and minors need to be stiffened. However, they would like to see the false rape accusations issue debated separately.

Experts are concerned that if the bill is passed, it would exacerbate the debate about rape in general.

READ MORE: Reports of rape increase dramatically in Copenhagen

Fearful victims
“It is evident that false accusations are a serious problem,” Nina Groes, the head of Kvinfo – Denmark’s centre for gender, equality and diversity – told DR.

“But many victims refrain from reporting  sexual assaults because they are afraid no-one would believe them, and I worry that higher penalties would increase their fear.”

According to Venstre’s spokesperson Britt Bager, false rape accusations are “some of the worst allegations a person can be exposed to” and therefore should be punished harsher – just like rape cases.