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Tuesday, 07 December, 2021
Home NATIONALAmendment to sexual offence law demanded
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Tue, 19 Jul, 2016 12:02:45 AM
FTimes – STT Report, Jul 19
File Photo – Lehtikuva.
Sexual offence legislation in Finland should be moved towards a definition based on absence of consent, said Academy Professor Johanna Niemi of the Faculty of Law, Turku University.
“Sexual criminal law does not correspond to the current understanding of sex. It is based on consent of the parties, but the matter is not sexual. It is a criminal act,” said Niemi.
In July, Germany encoded in law the “no means no” principle. It criminalises sexual acts which are not based on the consent of the parties. Previously, the victim had to demonstrate refusal to sex both with words and physical actions.
In Finland, the definition of sexual offences has been more extensive than in Germany. For example, a rape victim does not have to demonstrate physical resistance, though legislation emphasises violence or the threat of violence in its assessment of the crime.
The Finnish news agency STT asked politicians who are familiar with the legal policies or otherwise play a significant role for their opinions on the status of sexual offence regulations.
The Vasemmistoliitto (Left Alliance) has recognised the goal of changing the rape provision so that the absence of consent is the defining element of rape.
“I believe that in Finland, this will guide the law sooner or later,” said MP Anna Kontula.
Member of the Legal Affairs Committee Sanna Marin of the Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue (Social Democratic Party of Finland) also favours regulation based on the lack of consent.
Vihreä liitto (Green League) Parliamentary Group Chairman Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto also cautiously welcomes the change in the law, though she does not claim to know the German situation precisely.
Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party) Law Committee Chairman Kari Tolvanen and Suomen ruotsalainen kansanpuolue (Swedish People’s Party of Finland-RKP) Chairperson Anna-Maja Henriksson, however, argue that changing the law could make it more difficult to obtain evidence of a rape.
“Of course, we’re following these developments,” said Henriksson. 
Justice Minister Jari Lindström of the Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party) did not wish to comment on the matter at the Suomi Areena in Pori.
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