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Denmark plans rape law requiring sexual consent

AFP
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Denmark plans rape law requiring sexual consent
Lawmakers from Danish left-of-centre parties present the planned sexual consent law. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish government on Tuesday announced plans to reform sexual violence laws to make consent rather than violence the basis for determining rape.

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"We are moving from a system where there had to be coercion and violence for it to be rape, to one where there must be consent," Justice Minister Nick Hækkerup told a press conference.

A sexual partner could express their consent verbally or "indirectly" according to the circumstances, the minister added, explaining that "sexual language can go beyond words".

Women's groups welcomed the planned legal change.

The Federation of Danish women hailed a "historic victory for legality and the right to take sexual decisions".

A similar law has been in place in Sweden since 2018. The number of rape convictions rose by 75 percent to 333 last year.

Denmark's legal change, which has majority support in parliament, is expected to be adopted by the end of the year.

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