Danish parliament passes landmark bill to reform law around rape

Danish parliament passes landmark bill to reform law around rape
File photo: Olafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix
A long-awaited new law in Denmark will reform sexual assault laws to make consent rather than violence the basis for determining rape.

A parliamentary majority voted the new law through on Friday morning.

The law means that sex with a person who has not given consent will automatically be considered rape in legal trials.

Justice spokesperson with the Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) party Kristian Hegaard said the approval of the law was historic.

“From now on sex will be something that requires consent from both parts, or more if that’s the case. Everyone will have to be up for it.

“I know that sounds obvious, but that’s not how the law has been put together until now,” Hegaard said.

The current law does not give rape victims proper legal rights, Hegaard said.

“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 said of the reform in September.

The law comes into effect on January 1st.

Earlier this year, the Federation of Danish women said the law would be a “historic victory for legality and the right to take sexual decisions”.

A similar law has been in place in Sweden since 2018.

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