Abuse of minors would not prescribe until the victim is at least 50 years old

Abuse of minors would not prescribe until the victim is at least 50 years old

Those who suffer sexual abuse will have more time to report. The prescription of sexual crimes committed against minors will no longer begin to count when the victim reaches the age of majority; from now on, the margin will be extended until it is 50 years old. Predictably, this measure, proposed by Save the Children, will be included in the draft of the Law on the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents in the Face of Violence that the Government hopes to adopt tomorrow in the Council of Ministers, according to the weekly magazine "Vida Nueva". » However, it is not ruled out that the Socialist Executive may include some modification in the text at the last minute. The Minister of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare, María Luisa Carcedo, hopes that the text will be debated in the Congress in the first period of sessions of the year, which begins in February. The reason that drives this modification of the Penal Code is that, according to various studies, the average age at which the victims decide to denounce exceeds 35 years. In the case of Spain, by now the crimes have "expired".

The text has the approval of police, judges and various organizations representing civil society whose mission is to safeguard the rights of children, and is the result of more than three years of joint work. The Santander Chair of Rights and Minors of the Pontifical University of Comillas has also collaborated closely. The rule was born when he was still President of the Government Mariano Rajoy, "and the PSOE has now brought it to an end," explains Andres Ronde, director of Save the Children, who adds that the text, far from having a punitive character, aims to create a "prevention framework".

As stated in the legal system, sexual abuse of minors prescribes between five and 10 years after the victim has reached the age of majority. This category includes touching and masturbation. For sexual assaults – penetration or fellatio -, the terms are a little longer: between 10 and 15 years after the victim has reached 18. "The problem is that they are not able to reveal these facts until they have reached the maturity. In particular, until they overcome shame and fear. That is, when the crime has already prescribed », he emphasizes.

The picture is very different in the rest of the countries of the European Union, so this draft of the Law on the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents against Violence aims to equate Spain with nations such as Germany and the United Kingdom. In the first, the period begins when the victim is 30 years old. In the case of the second, the sentence is even more significant: the crimes of abuse or sexual aggression against minors never prescribe. "In this way, no aggressor remains unpunished," stresses Conde, who also recalls that in Spain 50 percent of these complaints are filed by minors, an "unacceptable" proportion. Moreover, between 10 and 20 percent of the population has suffered sexual abuse as a child. All in spite of the fact that 85 percent of the cases never come to be reported.

In fact, our country already accumulates two warnings from the Committee on the Rights of the Child, dependent on the United Nations (UN), for not having a law that explicitly protects children. Various Unicef ​​studies ratify a circumstance that the Executive expects to solve with this new law. "It is understood that victims may take much longer than their age of majority assimilates and matures what happened, being truly aware that they have been sexually assaulted in childhood," he told "New Life" Myrian Cabrera , one of the heads of the Pontifical University of Comillas who has participated in the preparation of the text.

A single statement

The text includes another series of important measures. Among them stands out that the evidence will be generalized in order to reduce to the maximum the declarations of the minor in judicial proceedings and, in any case, for those under 16 years of age. «This means that from now on the testimony will be recorded in the first declaration and that will be the proof that will be assumed as relevant and valid throughout the whole process, "says the director of Save the Children. So far, on average, children had to declare up to four times, which, according to experts, multiply the damage and revictimization, without ignoring the fact that the testimony is gradually corrupting.

Although currently professionals and volunteers who work with minors have to present a Certificate of Crimes of Sexual Nature, The text also includes the professional disqualification of those who have committed these crimes.

The rest of the proposals included in the draft include the creation of specialized courts for crimes against children and adolescents -as there are holders trained to deal with cases of gender violence-, the social obligation to report situations in which violate the rights of children, the establishment of prevention and care protocols in schools, as well as teacher training, an obligation that will also extend to the health field and to sports and leisure activities. There will also be a section that reflects the special needs of the most vulnerable groups: victims of trafficking, children with disabilities, unaccompanied foreign minors (MENA), members of the LGBT collective and also minor women in general.

"Hopefully a political consensus is reached that is very necessary, it would be a great advance. For example, in September of last year all the parties voted in favor of a proposal not of law that urged, precisely, to approve this law. And the fact is that childhood can not be, in any case, a divisive and partisan thing, "concludes Conde.


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