By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 03 February 2023 • 13:10
Sex offender - Image Rommel Canlas / Shutterstock.com
Differences still remain however, with a sixth proposal to be submitted after the previous five were rejected by the head of the Justice Ministry, Pilar Llop.
Montero is working to find a way to incorporate aggravating factors into the law that will reinforce the applicable penalty, whilst avoiding the burden of proof lying with the victim. The changes being proposed are not linked tocases where there is evidence of violence.
The department is reviewing cases where `the judge has reduced the sentence as well as those where the decision was taken not to, with the latter currently outweighing the former. Montero and her team hope that will provide the guidance necessary to get agreement from the Ministry of Justice.
The government is said to be treating the issue as urgent although there is no indication as to when a revised law will be put into place that will put an end to the early release of sex offenders.
News site La Vanguardia said on Saturday, January 28 that Irene Montero, the Minister of Equality, had bowed to public pressure and would bring forward changes.
The ruling coalition’s majority partner had said they would force through the change if the minister would not act, fearing that it would hurt them in this year’s elections. The socialist party which had managed to put through one of the greatest protections of women in the country had been battered as a result of the law’s shortcomings.
Although the law is to be tweaked judges will continue to have the final say on sentences and the changes may not be enough to stop the increasing number of sentence reductions.
The law reduces the number of criminal conviction types associated with sexual assault in line with the Istanbul convention and that is what has resulted in sentence reductions. At the moment there is no indication of what changes may be made to the law, as it is understood substantial more work is needed to understand the issue.
The change has led to sentence reductions for some 300 criminals and further changes are not expected to have much impact on that number, but rather to limit reputational damage to the ruling coalition.
Pushing through changes in an election year may be less easy than usual, with the law already a hot potato and one that was vehemently opposed by some parties. But with public opinion strongly in favour of reform to the “Only yes is yes” law parties may find it difficult to be seen to be opposing any improvements with some 300 sex offenders having benefitted.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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