Paris - A bill being prepared by the French government could set a minimum legal age for sexual consent for the first time, and the country's justice minister said on Monday that she thinks 13-years-old could be a reasonable age.
Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet told France's RTL radio network that age 13 was a "limit that is worth considering" for the upcoming legislation, but noted that judges should also have the ability to assess whether someone was old enough to give consent in individual situations."The question of the age below which the minor's consent is presumed not to exist is crucial, because there are obviously extremely shocking and unacceptable situations," Belloubet said.
A minimum age of sexual consent does not currently exist in French law.
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Two recent court cases have heightened the debate over who is old enough to consent to sex under French law.
A jury last week acquitted a 30-year-old man who was accused of raping an 11-year-old girl in 2009, French media reported.
The gendarme service oversees security outside urban areas.
Figures for cities weren't immediately available, but the gendarme data come as French women are increasingly speaking out online about past sexual abuse following US revelations.
French law defines rape as any act of sexual penetration committed on others "by violence, coercion, threat or surprise".
The definition does not distinguish between adults and minors for either the victims or perpetrators, although the potential criminal penalty is higher when victims are under 15.
An official with the French national gendarme service said it had registered 30% more complaints this year so far than in 2016, notably in October.
The official wasn't authorised to be publicly named.
However, in one case, documented in Section II, below, two women were also charged with homosexuality.