Sexual offenses against minors will not expire until the victim reaches at least 40 | Society

Sexual offenses against minors will not expire until the victim reaches at least 40 | Society



The pianist James Rhodes and the activist Vicki Bernadet in an act against child abuse.

The prescription period of child sexual abuse It will start running when the victim turns 30, and not 18, as it happens now. This is one of the main changes contemplated in the preliminary draft of the Organic Law for the Integral Protection of Children and Adolescents in the face of Violence, which the Council of Ministers plans to approve this Friday at first reading. The measure responds to one of the main requests of victims of sexual crimes, although the organizations of childhood had requested that the time began to run at 50.

The text also states that children under 14 years of age will not have to declare more than once during the judicial process, although the associations had requested that this exemption be extended to 16. In addition, the text supposes a change of paradigm and places children and adolescents as holders of subjective rights.

The vice president, Carmen Calvo, on a visit to the Vatican in October and against the backdrop of child abuse at the Iglesia, said that the Government was working to "ensure that these crimes are imprescriptible," according to the note published by the Executive. The preliminary draft states, finally, that they will prescribe between 10 and 20 years, depending on the seriousness of the crime, once the victim turns 30. This extends the period of denunciation until those who have suffered abuse are 40 or 50 years old.

Children's organizations have been asking for extension of prescription periods for a long time because victims usually take longer to process abuses and to be able to talk about it, so in many cases the guilty parties remained unharmed.

Government sources point out that this change guarantees in practice the "imprescriptibility" announced by Calvo given that the term is extended. "The imprescriptibility is a very exceptional measure in our legal system," they defend.

The Government is also working on a criminal reform to aggravate convictions for sexual crimes. And those convicted of sexual assault of minors will not be able to access prison permits or the third degree until they have served half of the sentence. It also increases their access to probation, preventing the judge from anticipating it at two thirds of the sentence.

The preliminary bill modifies 11 laws and includes measures for the prevention, detection of cases and protection of minors in the face of violence in different areas. It was one of the measures announced by Pedro Sánchez and could reach Congress in February.

The text collects another of the main requests of the organizations of childhood: the obligatory nature of the pre-constituted test. That is, children only declare in the judicial process once, during the instruction phase; According to calculations by Save the Children, some are forced to do so up to four times. The associations wanted to exempt children under the age of 16, but the Executive reduced it to 14 and people with disabilities. In case of over 14 years especially vulnerable, the judge may also recommend it. In addition, measures will be adopted to avoid the secondary victimization of minors (the result of poor attention during the judicial process), such as the immediate adoption of provisional measures, only procedures that are essential and any contact between victim and aggressor. Children's organizations have repeatedly requested the specialization of the courts in violence against children, as is the case with gender violence.

The Government draft incorporates a broad definition of violence that covers any type of physical, psychological and emotional abuse, including assaults or sexual abuse, physical punishment, neglect or negligent treatment. The text will include the inclusion in the Criminal Code of a new catalog of crimes against minors and adolescents committed through the Internet, which includes the incitement to suicide, self-harm, the commission of crimes against freedom and sexual indemnity, and the promotion or facilitation of eating disorders.

The norm also obliges the creation of specialized units in the prevention, detection and action in cases of violence against minors in the State Security Forces and Corps, the communities and local entities. And the figure of a third attached to the defender of the minor is created. The judge may also remove illegal content from web pages as a precautionary measure in the investigation of the cases. In all sexual and trafficking crimes, the conviction will entail the disqualification for any profession or trade that involves regular and direct contact with minors.

The preliminary draft specifies that any person who detects signs of violence will have the duty to denounce. Confidentiality and anonymity will be guaranteed. The text also includes the establishment of specific protocols in schools, health, sports (high performance centers, federations and municipal schools) and leisure. Protocols in hospitals will be developed in collaboration with communities. The clinical history will also include cases of violence against minors.

Schools will be provided with protocols of action in the face of bullying, cyberbullying, sexual harassment, gender violence and any other form of violence. The schools and institutes will have a welfare and protection coordinator who will be in charge of the correct application of the protocols and the action in cases of violence.

Social service workers will have the status of public authority and will be able to adopt necessary protection measures, coordinating the resources available in their territory, such as doctors or policemen. In addition, a central register of information on violence against children and adolescents will be created.

New risk indicators for children and adolescents

The preliminary draft of the Organic Law for the Integral Protection of Children and Adolescents in the face of Violence that is expected to be approved by the Council of Ministers today specifies the indicators according to which a minor will be considered at risk. Until now, the regulation was much more general. Indicators include the lack of alternative accommodation in case of eviction and the existence of an open and chronic conflict between the parents or between the tutors. Also that there be discriminatory practices on the part of the parents against the children or adolescents that entail a damage for their well-being and their health, including the non-acceptance of the condition or sexual identity of the minor, or that exercised against minors with disabilities.

The text specifies that in situations of risk the intervention of the Administration will be necessary without the minor having to be separated from his family environment. More than twenty indicators are considered to consider that a child or adolescent is at risk. Among them, the submission to therapies of aversion to minors belonging to the LGTBI collective, the use of physical or psychological punishment and the use of violent correction guidelines. Physical punishment of minors was already prohibited. The novelty provided by the preliminary draft is that they should be considered as a risk factor. In addition, it is also established as a risk factor overexposure of children to public opinion through the widespread dissemination of their image or personal information, absenteeism, early pregnancy or identification of mothers as victims of trafficking or of gender violence. Children under 14 who have committed acts constituting a crime will also be considered at risk.

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