Lawmakers stiffen domestic violence sentences

16th December 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 15 (AFP) - French lawmakers on Thursday voted to raise the age of marital consent for women, as part of a raft of legislation aimed at fighting forced marriages, violence against women and sex tourism.

PARIS, Dec 15 (AFP) - French lawmakers on Thursday voted to raise the age of marital consent for women, as part of a raft of legislation aimed at fighting forced marriages, violence against women and sex tourism.

Women will now have to be 18, instead of 15, in order to marry, while the law will give prosecutors the power to prevent a marriage from going ahead if there is a doubt about the consent of either party.

The legislation, which still needs to go before the upper house senate for a second reading, also raises the maximum prison terms for rape or murder committed within a marriage from 30 years to life.

"One woman in 10 suffers from domestic violence in France, and a woman is beaten to death every four days," Justice Minister Pascal Clément told the lower house national assembly ahead of the vote.

Genital mutilations, including those carried out abroad, on individuals who normally reside in France, would also become punishable by law within a 20-year statute of limitations.

Some 20,000 women and 10,000 young girls in France are either circumcised or face undergoing the procedure, according to official data.

The text also includes provisions to fight sex tourism, with new powers to ban convicted sex offenders from leaving the territory, and to store a genetic profile of French nationals and residents convicted of sex crimes overseas.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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