France seeks to change age of consent to protect children from abuse

French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron Copyright Credit: AP
By Euronews
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President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to tighten legislation to help prevent violence against children after recent shocking scandals in France prompted tens of thousands of people to share their own stories of sexual abuse within their families.

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France wants to make 15 the minimum age at which a child can legally consent to sex with an adult.

President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to tighten legislation to help prevent violence against children after recent shocking scandals in France prompted tens of thousands of people to share their own stories of sexual abuse within their families.

Calling such treatment of children "intolerable," the justice ministry said in a statement that "the government is determined to act quickly to implement the changes that our society expects."

"An act of sexual penetration by an adult on a minor under 15 will be considered a rape," Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said Tuesday on France-2 television.

The outpouring of testimonies, under the hashtag #MeTooInceste, followed the publication of a book in which a prominent French political scientist is accused of raping his stepson. It sold more than 200,000 copies and sent shockwaves across the political elite.

Euronews spoke to Laurent Boyet, president of the French child protection organisation Les Papillons. 

He told us how his own story prompted him to fight for child protection.

"At the age of nine, I was raped by my brother over three years and it was impossible for me to speak about what I was living, but I was able to write. That's why now I'm trying to put postboxes in schools to help children to speak about all kinds of violence. They are living in their families, in schools and also sexual assaults.

"It's difficult to speak because of the fear, because of the shame we have prepared to be out of our family if we are speaking."

**Watch the full interview with Boyet in the video player, above. **

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