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Danish conservative parties support law on consent before sex

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Danish conservative parties support law on consent before sex
Minister for Fisheries and Equal Opportunities and Nordic Cooperation Eva Kjer Hansen. File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
10:30 CET+01:00
Support is gathering in Denmark’s parliament for a law which would define sex without explicit consent as rape.

In November last year, the left-wing Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) party was unable to secure an overall parliamentary majority for a new law on sexual consent.

But that appears to have changed, with right-of-centre parties now saying that they would support rules similar to those introduced last year in neighbouring Sweden.

Conservative Party leader and Minister of Justice Søren Pape Poulsen said on Friday that he was prepared to support a proposal defining sex without explicit consent as rape.

Eva Kjer Hansen of the Liberal (Venstre) party, who is minister for equal opportunities, told media Altinget that she would also work to secure the law change.

Both parties are partners in Denmark’s tripartite coalition government.

“I have long called for this, because I think we need better legal protection for women. It is very good that the Minister of Justice is now convinced on this. The numbers speak for themselves,” Hansen said to Altinget, noting that, in 2017, only one in ten of the 971 reported rapes resulted in convictions.

Studies have shown that thousands of rapes or attempted rapes occur in Denmark every year, Altinget writes.

Libertarian party Liberal Alliance, the third party in the coalition government, has not recently confirmed its position on the potential law change, but voted against the Red-Green Alliance proposal last year.

Right-wing Danish People’s Party, the government’s primary parliamentary ally, said it wanted to see a formal bill on the issue before deciding on its stance.

All of Denmark's left-of-centre parties supported the previous proposal.

Current rules only consider rape to be committed in instances when the accused is proved to have had sex with somebody who tried to, or was unable to, stop the act. As such, far fewer are convicted of rape than would be the case if explicit consent was required in the legal definition of the crime.

READ ALSO: Denmark's courts hand out tougher sentences for rape, violence

 
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