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By Ann Kernahan, December 2022

The Swiss National Council (the lower house of parliament) decided to revise the law on sexual offences. It was, in particular, about "choosing a model" when tightening the rules on rape, reports SRF.ch.

The parliamentarians concluded that sexual violence, sexual coercion or rape are acts committed against a person "without their consent". Thus, the "only yes is a yes" option will apply.

Sexual offence legislation has finally been freed from the ballast of the past. The presumption of rape victim's complicity belongs to the "rubbish heap" of history" - these were the results of the debate summed up by Tamara Funicello, MP for the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland. According to her, the National Council is calling for a paradigm shift and awareness of its social responsibility by rethinking the concept of rape.

The National Council was also divided over whether judges should be given more discretion in sentencing for crimes against sexual integrity. Some citizens wanted fines and conditional imprisonment for rape to be removed from the law and a minimum sentence of more than two years to be imposed. Rapists would go to prison anyway.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International Schweiz estimates that the National Council's decision shows that women parliamentarians and party representatives wanted to enshrine in Swiss criminal law the understanding that sex without consent is rape and is punishable accordingly.