Denmark to change law, treat non-consensual sex as rape

No date for a formal vote was announced, but the legal change is likely to be adopted by year-end

Denmark
Sweden, Germany, Belgium, and Britain already have similar laws | Representative Photo: iStock

Denmark’s left-leaning parties have agreed to change the country’s sexual violence laws to allow sex without explicit consent to be prosecuted as rape.

The parties represent a majority of lawmakers in parliament. No date for a formal vote was announced, but the legal change is expected to be adopted by the end of 2020.

Under a deal reached by Denmark’s minority Social Democratic government and the left-wing parties, Danish law would specify that sexual consent must be given voluntarily and as an expression of an individual’s free will through words or action.

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“This is one of the most important battles for gender equality in Denmark that has taken place for a very long time,” Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup said after the agreement was announced Wednesday.

“We must have changed society’s understanding of what rape is, and a new consent-based rape provision is a milestone in that effort.”

Sweden, Germany, Belgium, and Britain already have similar laws.

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