Germany strengthens rape law after NYE assaults

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The German parliament is set to pass a brand-new law Thursday widening the definition of sex criminal activities and making it much easier to deport foreign nationals who commit them.

After years of dispute on the need for tougher treatment of rape by the criminal justice system, the new legislation finally came together following a rash of sexual attacks in crowds on New Year’s Eve in the western city of Cologne.

Dubbed the “No means No” law by the media, it clearly covers cases in which a victim withheld consent however did not physically fight back.

The legislation, entitled “improving the defense of sexual self-determination”, likewise decreases the bar for deporting sexual offenders, categorizes groping as a sex criminal activity and targets assaults dedicated by large groups.

“It is essential that we lastly embed the principle ‘No means No’ in criminal law and make every non-consensual sexual act a punishable offence,” stated deputy Eva H gl of the Social Democrats, among the law’s sponsors.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet approved the step in March after the attacks in Cologne, where more than 1,000 women reported sexual attacks and break-ins on New Year’s Eve.

The attacks were blamed largely on Arab and North African guys.

The city’s police chief conceded that many offenders may never be caught over the spate of attacks, which varied from groping to rape as well as swollen public debate about a record influx of refugees and migrants.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas acknowledged that under German law there were “undesirable spaces in protection” against sexual threat and attack.

Currently, victims reporting a rape to police must not only show that they verbally decreased sex but likewise that they physically withstood their assaulter.

The brand-new law is planned to cover “the real situations in which most attacks happen”, Maas said.

 

These consist of cases where the victim is taken by surprise, intimidated or threatened with other violence, for example in an abusive relationship.

Parliament had already in January made it easier to expel migrants and refugees founded guilty of crimes.

Along with sexual offences, it required proof of extra “violence, threats or physical endangerment” and generally a prison sentence of at least one year before an aggressor might be deported.

The reform means any sexual attack can be utilized against a candidate in a migration or asylum hearing.