France’s Independent Commission on Incest and Sexual Violence against Children (CIIVISE) published a report on Friday calling for the removal of the statute of limitations for sexual violence, in particular in cases of sexual violence against minors. CIIVISE’s report provided recommendations to the public dealing with four structures: “the pillars, reality, denial, and protection”. CIIVISE says that its report is based on three years of collecting testimonies from survivors of child sexual violence in order to create policy recommendations.
The report says that in France 160,000 children are victims of sexual violence annually and that 5.4 million adult women and men were victims in their childhood. It also discusses the costs of the current system, saying, “The impunity of the attackers and absence of support social security given to victims costs 9.7 billions each year in public spending. Two thirds of this staggering cost results from the long-term consequences on the health of the victims.”
CIIVISE recommends removing the statute of so that people suspected of raping or sexually assaulting minors can be prosecuted. It also recommends that incestuous sexual abuse of children is listed as a separate criminal offense. The current statute of limitations is 30 years from adulthood at 18 years.
In 2021, France amended its age of consent laws after a longstanding legal position that enabled minors to consent. The age of consent is now 15 years, whereas before consent was obtained from a sexual partner irrespective of age. The amended law ushered in enhanced protections for minors from child sexual abuse and came as a response to years of public pressure and outcry.