Denmark strengthens rape laws, outlaws sex without explicit consent

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark strengthened its rape laws on Thursday by criminalising sex without explicit consent.

The new law passed by parliament widened the circumstances that could constitute rape - under the old legislation, prosecutors had to show the rapist had used violence or attacked someone who was unable to resist.

“Now it will be clear, that if both parties do no consent to sex, then it’s rape,” justice minister Nick Haekkerup said in a statement.

A similar law introduced in neighbouring Sweden in 2018 resulted in a 75% rise in rape convictions.

Around 11,400 women a year are raped or subjected to attempted rape in Denmark, according to the ministry’s figures.

Amnesty International said Denmark had become the 12th country in Europe to recognise non-consensual sex as rape.

“This is a great day for women in Denmark as it consigns outdated and dangerous rape laws to the dustbin of history and helps to end pervasive stigma and endemic impunity for this crime,” the campaign group’s Women’s Rights Researcher, Anna Blus, said.

The law will take effect on Jan. 1.

Reporting by Tim Barsoe; Editing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Andrew Heavens