Senator Xavier Iacovelli, a member of the presidential party Renaissance, has tabled a bill to remove statutes of limitations in cases of sexual violence against a minor, wishing to send an "important message for victims". "Whatever the moment when you finally manage to speak, the State or justice will be there to listen to you": this is the "message" that the elected representative of Hauts-de-Seine hopes to pass with his text co-signed by twenty senators from several groups (RDPI with a Renaissance majority, RDSE with a radical majority, The Republicans, the Centrist Union, The Independents).
Its text thus proposes to abolish the statute of limitations in cases of sexual assault or rape of a minor. To date, a minor can file a complaint for sexual assault up to 10 or 20 years after reaching the age of majority, depending on the age he or she was at the time of the offence. For rape of a minor, the statute of limitations is 30 years but can be extended if the same person subsequently rapes another minor. She can then be tried for the oldest rape, even if it is theoretically prescribed. This is called "prolonged" or "slippery" prescription.
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Insufficient provisions for the senator, who deplores that this last device weighs "undue pressure (...) on the most recent victims". It also intends to strike harder in cases of non-reporting of sexual offences against minors, by harmonizing the statute of limitations for this offence and increasing it to 20 years. The senator anticipates points of divergence with some lawyers resistant to imprescriptibility, but also with the Chancellery which, at this stage, advocates the sliding prescription mechanism.
It is not because the statute of limitations is written into our Penal Code that we cannot evolve. Other countries such as Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark have removed the statute of limitations for sexual violence against minors," insists Xavier Iacovelli, ensuring that his proposal is in accordance with the Constitution. It remains to be seen when his text could be put on the parliamentary agenda. The senator, who will first have to be re-elected in the next election (September 24), then hopes to obtain the inclusion of his text in one of the days reserved for groups during the next session from the fall.