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Sweden passes new consent requirement

[JURIST] Swedish lawmakers passed legislation [text, in Swedish] Wednesday making explicit consent or clear communication a requirement before sexual conduct, or it will be considered rape.

"The purpose of the legislation is to clarify that every individual has an unconditional right to decide over their own sexual relations," according to a press release [statement] from the Riksdag, Sweden's legislative body.

Previously someone could only be prosecuted for rape in Sweden if it was proven they had used threats or violence. The new law requires explicit verbal agreement or a clear demonstration of desire to engage in sexual activity. It also includes a special negligence requirement for more serious offenses.

"It is no longer necessary for the offender to use violence or threats, or to exploit the victim's particularly vulnerable situation in order to be judged for rape," the proposal stated [text, translated from Swedish].

The changes will go into effect on July 1, 2018.

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