While the age of consent was previously 15, prosecutors in France used to be required to prove sex was non-consensual to obtain a rape conviction.
‘This is an historic law for our children and our society,’ Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti told the National Assembly.
‘No adult aggressor will be able to claim the consent of a minor younger than 15-years-old.’
There had been concerns from some lawmakers that an age of consent below which sex automatically constituted rape might criminalize a consensual sexual relationship between a minor and a person only a few years older.
As a consequence, a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ clause that allows for sexual relations between a minor and an individual up to five years older. The clause will not apply in cases of sexual assault.