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Germany wants to make it easier to convict rapists

The new laws would reduce the burden of proof on victims.

Police patrol in front of the main train station and the cathedral in Cologne.
Police patrol in front of the main train station and the cathedral in Cologne.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT has agreed to reform the country’s law on sexual crimes to improve victims’ ability to file complaints against their attackers.

The bill agreed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet wouldn’t require proof that victims resisted their attackers before rape charges can be brought.

Under the proposed law, which needs Parliamentary approval, attackers could be convicted of rape if they surprise their victims or exploit the fact that victims fear greater violence if they resist.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas says the reforms are needed because only 8% of rape trials result in convictions in Germany and studies show only one in ten rapes is reported.

A string of attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve has sparked a wide debate about sexual violence in Germany.

Read: ‘No means no’: Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses >

Read: German police capture rapist who escaped during beer hall visit >

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