Finland tightens laws against sex offenders

The Finnish government has proposed to tighten the country’s legislation on sex crimes. [shutterstock / Tinnakorn jorruang]

The Finnish government has proposed to tighten the country’s legislation on sex crimes, similar to reforms passed in Sweden and other European countries. With the five parties in government holding 117 of the 200 seats in parliament, the bill is likely to pass.

The legislative reform described as “historic” by Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson of the Swedish People’s Party re-defines rape, so that all sex acts without consent are considered rape without it depending on the victim’s age.

The bill also focuses on better protecting children. Sex with someone under the age of 16 is considered rape, the bill states. Sentences for child rape have also been toughened, ranging from two to 12 years in prison.

The definition of sexual harassment has also been broadened to include behaviour outside physical contact. Spreading sexual images of another person without permission will be criminalised, while sending someone sexual images without their consent will also be considered harassment.

The legislative reform has been in the making for three years, though as the media has mentioned, work intensified after Sweden toughened its laws in 2017. A citizens’ initiative was handed to parliament in 2019.

If approved in parliament, the new legislation will come into effect in 2023.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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