The Spanish Parliament passed a bill on Thursday which seeks to protect child victims of sexual abuse. The bill was approved by a landslide 268 votes in favour and 57 against, whilst 16 elected to abstain.
“El Proyecto de Ley Orgánica de protección integral a la infancia y la adolescencia frente a la violencia,” more commonly known as the “Rhodes law,” sets forth to guarantee the fundamental rights of children and adolescents to physical, psychological and moral integrity against any form of violence. The law establishes protection methods, including but not limited to awareness, prevention, early detection, protection and reparation of damage in all areas of their development. It further aims to protect children through a system of information and advice, the right to comprehensive care, the legitimation of their rights in judicial procedures should they bring a sexual violence case, and the right to free legal assistance.
Per article 132 of the Rhodes law, children victims of attempted homicide, assault, domestic abuse, crimes against liberty, sexual liberty and indemnity and human trafficking will have until the age of 35 to report since the crimes occurred when they were under the age of 18. It also sets to modify article 130 of the “Ley Orgánica del Poder Judicial” to eliminate the expiration for criminal liability in cases where the victim is a child or a person with disabilities in need of special protection.
The bill was proposed following a public campaign by British pianist and Spanish resident James Rhodes and several charities. Rhodes personally spoke out at the age of 35 about having been abused as a child.
The bill will now be forwarded to the Senate and is expected to pass in early June.