As many as 180 nongovernmental organizations demand the deputies, in an open letter, to introduce into the law the age limit of 16 years for valid consent in the case of sexual relations with minors, a release by the Filia Center reads, according to Agerpres.
The open letter was sent on the first day of the new parliamentary session by the Network for Preventing and Combating Violence against Women (VIF Network), the document being supported by 180 nongovernmental organizations.
Currently, a minimum age of the minor is not provided for in the law under which it is considered that she/he cannot give her/his valid consent in the case of a sexual relationship with an adult partner or with a partner with an age difference of more than three years. This minimum age would eliminate the possibility of framing the act to the crime of sexual intercourse with a minor and would frame it as a crime of rape, the release says.
The source recalls that the Report of the Judicial Inspection, published in May 2021, shows numerous examples of the classification of the acts of rape on minors aged 10-12 years as sexual acts consented to adult men, justifying this classification by the fact that the minors consented to the sexual acts by the way they were dressed, their physical development and their behavior, and by supposing that, if they did not say what has happened to them, the deed did not exist or justifying these facts as culturally associated.
Also, it is noted that the Senate adopted in June 2022 a legislative proposal on the amendment of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code introducing an age limit (15 years) for valid consent in the case of sexual relations with minors. In case of amendment of organic laws, the Chamber of Deputies is the decision-making chamber.
„Sexual abuse of minors is often hidden, difficult to prove because of the unequal power relationship between adult aggressors and minor victims. The evidence in criminal cases is on the shoulders of the minor victims of sexual violence, not of the aggressors, being much harder for the minor victims to provide the evidence that proves coercion, the impossibility of expressing their will or the fact that the aggressor took advantage of this state in which the minor was, as specified in the Criminal Code in the case of rape offenses. The introduction of the 16-year age limit reduces the pressure put on underage victims to prove a crime that is often hidden in nature. In addition, the minimum legal age for marriage is 16 years (…), the physical person acquires the capacity to work at 16 years, minors cannot have access to contraception means up to 16 years without the consent of the parents or guardian,” the press release stresses.
According to the aforementioned press release, which quotes data from the Romanian General Police Inspectorate (IGPR), in the last eight years, 1,885 girls and 202 boys were victims of the offences of rape, sexual assault or sexual intercourse with a minor, in which the perpetrator was a family member. In more than 91% of the cases reported to the police, the aggressors were men.
The Network for preventing and combating violence against women consists of 25 nongovernmental organisations and aims to promote the rights of women and girls, to protect victims of gender crime and to combat gender discrimination. The open letter is, however, also supported by other NGOs including Active Watch, the Center for Legal Resources, the National Council of Students, Funky Citizens, ACCEPT association.