Parliament pushes for a change so that pederasty crimes do not have a statute of limitations

Parliament pushes for a change so that pederasty crimes do not have a statute of limitations

BarcelonaThe Parliament of Catalonia wants sexual crimes against minors not to have a statute of limitations. After months of work, PSC, ERC, Junts and En Comú Podemos registered this morning a bill to respond to the requests of civil society, which demanded the non-prescription of serious crimes of pederasty, those with a sentence of sentences of more than five years in prison. The Catalan initiative will be sent to Madrid for Congress to debate the amendment of the Penal Code. The Spanish deputies now have the last word.

This law proposal stems from the work carried out by the investigation commission on pederasty in the Church, which was set up at the end of 2022 and has been working all this year on the investigation and reparation of victims of pederasty within the Catholic Church, but also in other areas such as school or sports. At the beginning of the summer, the child psychiatrist Miguel Ángel Hurtado, a victim of abuse in Montserrat, presented to the political groups a proposal, made by a team of Chilean lawyers, to “homologize Spain with the rest of the countries of northern Europe ” where the “non-prescriptibility” of the most serious crimes of pederasty has already been approved.

Finally, after months of study by the Catalan political formations, the proposed law will go ahead, which aims to promote a change in the current Penal Code, and which will not be retroactive: it would only affect new cases. Today, in Spain the law of only yes is yes approved in 2021 establishes that the statute of limitations for pederasty crimes begins to run from the day the victim turns 35. This implies that the majority of child sexual assaults are prescribed when the survivor is between 40 and 45 years old, and in particularly serious cases when they turn 55. Now Catalonia is bringing to the Congress of Deputies a proposal to raise this red line even further and that crimes do not have a statute of limitations.

The proposal that comes out of the Parliament of Catalonia is mirrored in other countries such as France and Portugal, and responds to a demand from the associations of victims of abuse, which this morning were informed of the agreement of the four formations. “Recent international scientific studies of the highest quality establish that at least victims of child sexual abuse report on average when they are forty-two years old, although there are studies in which the average age of reporting is even later “, highlights the text that was registered this Tuesday, and which emphasizes that eleven of the twenty-seven states of the European Union have approved the imprescriptibility of sexual crimes against minors.

Ability to do things in Catalonia

From the first day, Catalan civil society has recognized that the initiative coming from Catalonia is a first step, but that it depends on Madrid to make it a reality. It is Congress that will now have to decide on the possibility of changing the limitation periods. In any case, the activists point out that steps forward could be taken in Catalonia regardless of what happens with the proposed law that emerged from the regional chamber, through the Civil Code. For example, legislation could be passed to benefit survivors, changing the statute of limitations to allow victims to receive compensatory damages.

As part of the commission of inquiry, Parliament last week summoned the Archbishop of Barcelona and president of the Episcopal Conference, Joan Josep Omella, to appear as a witness on January 29.

2023-12-19 10:09:07
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