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The yes is yes reform that toughens penalties for sexual assaults with violence and intimidation comes into force tomorrow

MADRID, 28 Abr.

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The yes is yes reform that toughens penalties for sexual assaults with violence and intimidation comes into force tomorrow


The reform of the Law of 'only yes is yes' approved in the Congress of Deputies that modifies the range of penalties for sexual assault with violence and intimidation will enter into force this Saturday, April 29, after its publication in the Official Gazette of the State (BOE). The changes introduced in the norm will mean raising the punishment by up to two years in prison with respect to the text promoted by the Ministry of Equality.

This is because this text returns to the penalty range, from one to five years, that were included for sexual assaults in the Penal Code in 2010, the last reform that this rule underwent before changing again with the Law on 'only yes is yes'.

The changes introduced will be applied, however, to crimes of sexual assault that occur as of this Saturday and will not prevent the revision of sentences for already convicted sexual offenders, since the inmates benefit from the most favorable law in force. for them. And, according to the president of the Gender Violence Observatory, Ángeles Carmona, "we will still see many reductions in sentences for sexual assault."

According to the latest data from the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), almost a thousand sexual offenders have seen their sentences reduced and a hundred have been released since October 7, when the law came into force. The Minister for Equality, Irene Montero, has nevertheless rejected the changes, considering that they represent a setback for women and has attributed the sentence reductions to a problem of application of the law by the judges.

For its part, the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court plans to analyze on June 6 in a monographic plenary session the twenty appeals that they already have on the table, both from the Prosecutor's Office and from other accusations or defenses, "against orders from provincial courts that They have reviewed firm sentences".

The Law, with the reform, maintains the wording of the first two points drafted by the Ministry of Equality, which state that: "it will only be understood that there is consent when it has been freely expressed through acts that, in view of the circumstances of the case, express clearly the will of the person" and that "in any case sexual assault is considered to be acts of sexual content that are carried out using violence, intimidation or abuse of a situation of superiority or vulnerability of the victim, as well as those that are executed on people who are deprived of sense or whose mental situation is being abused and those that are carried out when the victim has been annulled for any reason".

But a new third point is included to state that "if the attack was committed using violence or intimidation or against a victim whose will has been annulled for any reason, the person responsible will be punished with one to five years in prison."

In this sense, article 179 is also amended. If the 'only yes is yes' Law includes a sentence of four to twelve years for penetrative assaults (rape), the new text adds that in the event that this violation includes violence and intimidation this sentence range is from 6 to 12 years, as in 2010.

In the case of aggravating circumstances, this text also returns to the Criminal Code prior to the 'only yes is yes' Law, although adapting to the proposal that it now makes when distinguishing sexual assaults with or without violence. Thus, the Equality ranges are included -from 2 to 8 years and from 7 to 15 years, in cases of sexual assault with or without penetration, respectively- and recovers the existing ranges in the Penal Code prior to the 'only yes es sí', from 5 to 10 years and from 12 to 15 years, for the new subtypes that he now proposes: sexual assaults with violence, with or without penetration.

In the same way, several transitory provisions are added in which it is assumed that the norm will be applicable to crimes committed before its entry into force if it is more favorable for the accused and that the penalties that would correspond to the act prosecuted with the application of the full rules of the Penal Code prior to the reform and those established with it and the possibility of imposing security measures. In any case, it establishes that the accused will be heard.

In addition, the new text determines that the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) may assign the review of final sentences to one or more Criminal Courts or sections of the Provincial Courts and that the prisoner who is serving the sentence will be reviewed. effectively the penalty applying the most favorable provision considered exhaustively and "not by the exercise of judicial discretion".

These are the points that the PSOE maintains from its original text that it registered last February. But during the processing, the Socialists have included some measures, which according to the Socialists are "technical", and which arise from the negotiation with the PP.

Through these modifications, the text includes an article that corrects the declassification that the law makes by mistake of the distribution or public dissemination through the Internet, the telephone or any other information or communication technology of content specifically intended for to promote, incite or encourage the commission of crimes of sexual assault when it comes to minors under 16 years of age.

In addition, it recovers the responsibility of the legal person in cases of degrading treatment, workplace harassment or real estate harassment, among other wording changes that have also been applied during the processing.

On the other hand, this text includes the correction of the wording of article 132 of the Law against violence in childhood, known as 'Rhodes Law', which mentions twice the crimes against the freedom of minors with two time limits of prescription different.

After the approval of this reform, this error is resolved specifying that, in the case of "crimes against sexual freedom" when the victim is a person under 18 years of age, the limitation period will begin to count from the moment the the victim turns "35 years old and, if he dies before reaching this age, from the date of death".