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COUNTRY REPORT FRANCE December 1, 2012


Country Report France, 2012

INTRODUCTION In 2010, a European project addressing Youth Sexual Aggression and Victimization (Y-SAV) was launched. Y-SAV is a three-year project co-financed by the European Union in the framework of the Health Programme to address the issue of sexual aggression and victimization among young people. The project aims to build a multidisciplinary network of European experts in various member states, bring together the knowledge on youth sexual aggression and victimization in a state-of-the-art database, develop a more harmonised way of measuring these issues and provide recommendations for strategic action to address the problem of youth sexual aggression under different circumstances in different EU member states. This report is part of the Y-SAV knowledge base. The knowledge base presents information regarding youth sexual aggression and victimization for each EU member state. This report presents the current situation in France regarding policies, legislation, organisations, prevalence, risk factors and evidence-based interventions in the area of youth sexual aggression and victimization. This report was compiled by the Y-SAY principal investigators at the University of Stockholm (Sweden), Rutgers WPF (The Netherlands) and the University of Potsdam (Germany). We would like to acknowledge Ms. Alice Debouche (Institut National d’Etudes Démographiques) for her important contribution to the Y-SAV report on France.

This report arises from the project Y–SAV which has received funding from the European Union in the framework of the Health Programme.


Country Report France, 2012

TABLE OF CONTENTS A. B. C. D.

Government and policies ....................................................................................... 1 Legal situation ................................................................................................... 2 Institutions, organisations and services...................................................................... 5 Research on prevalence, risk factors and evidence based intervention ............................... 7


Country Report France, 2012

A. GOVERNMENT AND POLICIES i. Ministries The ministry in charge of youth is the Ministry of Education, Youth and Community Life. Other ministries involved in youth issues are the Department of Justice, The Department of Employment, The Department of Social Affairs and Solidarity, The Department of Education and The Department of Culture and Communication. The National Institute for Youth and People Education (INJEP) is a public institute under the authority of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Community Life. The missions of the institute are to inform and advise young people, promote youth participation in public life, encourage youth initiatives and commitments, support youth organisations and activities by local authorities. The institute has a youth web portal www.jeunesse.gouv.fr and publishes a journal, Agora Débat, on youth problems. Haute Autorité de Lutte contre les Discriminisations et pour l´Egalité (HALDE) is a governmental body in order to support equality, and has impact on youth sexual life and attitudes. It has been recently replaced by the Défenseurs des Droits whose mission is also to protect the rights of children. ii. Policies The modern protection system against violence against children (VAC) was born almost concomitantly with the 5th Republic.1 It rests on two branches: one is administrative, the other is judicial. These two branches work closely to achieve the same goal: protecting children against all forms of mistreatment. Since the decentralisation reforms, the fight against VAC is mostly local. Departments lead the action with an emphasis on the detection and prevention of child mistreatment. Public authorities work also closely with a national network of NGOs, which continue to play an essential role in the protection of children. This complex network of authorities is aimed to ensure the welfare of children up to their majority (i.e. 18 years old). Since 1989, the SNATEM (Service National d’Accueil Téléphonique pour l’Enfance Maltraitée) runs a toll-free number (119) for children and adolescents (up to 18 years old) facing any form of violence or mistreatment.2 The service publishes statistics but does not separate sexual violence from other forms of violence. Since 2002, workers of the social services who are informed of cases of mistreatment (including sexual violence) have a legal obligation to inform the justice system. iii. Current discussion An issue under debate is that the French universalist system hinders the resolution of particular issues as family violence and sexual aggression. The utopist view that all citizens enjoy the same rights under the law does not reflect the French reality where gender inequality, sexism and homophobia persist. The recent creation of the HALDE (see above) seems to constitute and implicitly recognise the universalist approach failure and a governmental attempt to cope with the widespread discrimination that still impregnates all levels of French society.3 The newly created position of Défenseur des Droits has a specific administration under its authority that is dedicated to protecting the rights of children and adolescents, in coordination with various institutions and associations.

1

Fifth and current republican constitution of France, introduced on 4 October 1958.

2

SNATEM-199 website : www.allo119.gouv.fr/

3

Ould-Aklouche, C., Salim, Z, Report on France, (2010). In Feasibility Study to Assess the Possibilities, Opportunities and Needs to Standardise National Legislation on Violence Against Women, Violence Against Children and Sexual Orientation Violence. European Commission, available at www.ec.europa.eu/justice/funding/daphne3/daphne_feasibility_study_2010_en.pdf 1


Country Report France, 2012

B. LEGAL SITUATION i. Law and legal definitions French Republicanism is premised on the idea that all its citizens are afforded the same protection under the law. Indeed, the interest of an united French nation transcends any interest of any community. The universal rights guaranteed under the constitution, including the sacrosanct trinity: freedom, equality and fraternity, apply to all citizens regardless of, inter alia, their race, national origin, sex, age or sexual orientation. Since the state negates the existence of minorities, the fight against violence against women and children are ensured through general laws. Criminal offenses are organised in three categories: felonies tried before the Criminal Court (Cour d’Assises), misdemeanours tried before the Correctional Court (Tribunal Correctionnel), and petty offenses, tried before the Police Tribunal (Tribunal de Police). Article 222-23 of the Penal Code defines rape as ‘any act of sexual penetration, of whatever nature, committed against another person using violence, restraint, threats, or surprise.’ Notably, pursuant to Article 222-22-1 of the Penal Code, the constraint may be physical or psychological or due to the difference of age between the offender and the victim. The child’s lack of maturity makes him/her incapable of comprehending the nature and the seriousness of the acts he/she is subjected to. Sexual penetration is the element that distinguishes rape from other forms of sexual abuse. Rape presupposes the existence of an act of sexual penetration, which can be oral, vaginal or anal. The use of a hand, limb or any other object constitutes a rape. Rape must also be committed on another person who may be a man, a woman or a child. The person may belong to the same or a different sex. By violence, constraint, threat or surprise: it is the lack of consent which characterises rape regardless of the age of the victim or the means the perpetrator used to commit the act of rape. French law does not set forth a specific age of consent to sexual relationships. However, 15 years was often referred to as the age of sexual majority. 4 Pursuant to the Penal Code, a minor can validly express her consent to sexual relationships after such age.5 Notably, the age of 15 is also used to determine the existence of aggravating circumstances. The French criminal system did not adopt the strict liability approach of certain countries.6 Courts can impose psychological treatment and socio-judicial control to sex offenders. Generally, these obligations are followed up by socio-judicial associations, medical and psychological centres or by the penitentiary services for integration and probation which mission is to prevent delinquency and second offence. The system has been reinforced concerning the recidivists (DNA file, increasing of the sentences) but concerning the first offenders accused several times without having been condemned, nothing is done: no particular control is ordered neither during the preparation of the case for trial nor after a first penalty. Thus, these provisions are not protective for potential victims. New laws are passed each year, creating even more complex legislation: the law on parental authority (2002), the reform of the divorce law (2004), the increase of sentences, including in the case of recurrence of the offence, the introduction of distancing measures (2006), the medical and psychological monitoring of offenders (2007) and the law on child protection (2007) are but a few examples of this constant evolution of French law.

4

Court of appeals of Bourges (06.18.87 decision) held that a child of 13 years old validly consented to a sexual act. 5

Except for sexual relationships with an ascendant or a person who has authority over her.

6

In Germany incestuous acts are independent of the notion of consent where the victim is under 16 years of age. In Spain, any act of sexual penetration on a child Under 12 years of age constitutes a rape. In England and Wales, there is a presumption of sexual abuse where the child is Under 16 years old. 2


Country Report France, 2012

ii. Official statistics There were 4.443 rapes reported in France in 2006, representing 8 reports per 100.000 of the population (somewhat lower than the European average of 11). Compared to 8 years earlier it was a raise of 33%. The conviction rate (reports/verdicts) was 25%, in mid-range in Europe.7 The proportion of prison sentences is 95% for rape with aggravating circumstance, 90% for rape or sexual aggression and 71% for rape on a minor. The average prison time for sexual aggression or other sexual offenses on a minor was 6.2 years. The average time spent in jail was 4.2 years and the percentage of offenders actually serving prison terms was 69%. For sexual aggression or other sexual offenses characterised as misdemeanours, the average prison time ordered was 2.1 years, the average prison time actually served was 1.3 years and the percentage of offenders actually serving a jail sentence was 67% (Statistics from the Ministry of Justice, Condemnations in 2005, Secretary General, Department of General Administration, and Equipment, Statistics Division, December 2006). Police statistics distinguish reports of sexual violence for victims below and above 18 years of age. In 2009, there were 13.526 reports of sexual violence (rape and other sexual assaults) against people under 18 of age (9.727 for victims over 18).8 iii. Legal studies The CFCV (Feminist Collective against Rape) provides the following recommendations:  ensure that the law is enforced and that the complaints be processed faster;  ensure that police officers file all complaints for rape or other types of sexual assaults in strict compliance with clearly defined instructions in order to avoid rejection of the complaints based on insufficient evidence;  systematic application of sanctions provided by the law in the case of threats, pressures and intimidations against the victim, forcing her to withdraw her complaint;  before the dismissal of a complaint can take effect, the public prosecutor must justify his/her decision to drop the charges;  inform the victim of the name of the examining magistrate in charge of the case and thereafter provide her with periodic updates of the developments of the case. The victim should be aware of all the actions taken during the procedure that could potentially affect her safety: the start and end of police custody, preventive detention, and conditional release. 9 The CFCV drew up various statistics about the victims of rape and the implementation of the law. 10 Ould-Aklouche & Salim (2010) identified and discussed several problems within the French legal system:  the failure to implement existing laws: although some criminal law severely punish violence against children, in practice, we are forced to notice that judicial authorities often fail to strictly apply the law: the sentences are generally lenient (e.g. rape and sexual aggressions), certain crimes are prosecuted as misdemeanours before correctional courts, some criminal provisions are clearly disregarded (e.g. law on corporal punishment), aggravating circumstances are not taken into account and some acts of violence are not properly investigated;

7

Lovett, J., Kelly, L. 2009. Different Systems, Similar Outcomes? – Tracking Attrition in Reported Rape Cases Across Europe. CWASU, Daphne II Programme. 8

Observatoire National de la Délinquance et des Réponses Pénales [ONDRP], (2010). Available at: www.inhesj.fr/fr/ondrp/les-publications/bulletins-annuels/13-0 9

Ould-Aklouche, C., Salim, Z, Report on France, (2010). In Feasibility Study to Assess the Possibilities, Opportunities and Needs to Standardise National Legislation on Violence Against Women, Violence Against Children and Sexual Orientation Violence. European Commission, available at www.ec.europa.eu/justice/funding/daphne3/daphne_feasibility_study_2010_en.pdf 10

available at: www.cfcv.asso.fr/dossiers/c2,dossiers.php 3


Country Report France, 2012

problems of proof: in many instances, the cases are dropped for lack of evidence or because the evidence is inadmissible (especially in cases of online child pornography). Evidence rules should be amended to allow for example the police to set up fake websites to track sexual predators. Similarly some denounce the current presumption of consent to sexual intercourse between married couples. This presumption exacerbates the problem of proof in cases involving couples where the lack of consent is already difficult to establish. Further, the existence of an offense for malicious denunciation aggravates the issue since the victim who is unable to establish the violence she was subjected to may be prosecuted for malicious prosecution; the French protection system suffers from its complexity. Its lack of legibility, the number of persons involved therein, the problems of communication and coordination of the entities involved hinder its efficiency and often result in inconsistent decisions that may endanger victims; the data collection system should be significantly improved. The absence of a centralised system of data collection of the alarming information on VAC prevents a global comprehension of the origin and the importance of the issue. Further, although, some national statistics about violence exist (e.g. police, emergencies), the lack of statistics specific to VAW hinders public authorities’ ability to solve the problem. Indeed, police and medical statistics usually do not differentiate based on the victim’s gender (including in case of murder). 11 Further, since there is special statistical category specific to intimate partner violence (IPV), an act of violence against a partner may be accounted for in various statistical categories preventing a global vision of the problem; the 1994 laws had also unexpected side effects, today, men often file counterclaims when served with their partners’ complaints. Judges often hold the partners jointly liable for the violence, especially since the institution of the penal and family mediation procedures. 12

11

Statistics via the Medical Computerised Systems Program (PMSI), which keeps records on all medical interventions occurring in hospitals, rendered mandatory since the law of August 9, 2004 pertaining to public health. 12

Ould-Aklouche, C., Salim, Z, Report on France, (2010), in Feasibility Study to Assess the Possibilities, Opportunities and Needs to Standardise National Legislation on Violence Against Women, Violence Against Children and Sexual Orientation Violence, European Commission, available at http://ec.europa.eu/justice/funding/daphne3/daphne_feasibility_study_2010_en.pdf 4


Country Report France, 2012

C. INSTITUTIONS, ORGANISATIONS AND SERVICES i. National level There are two major organisations of youth councils in France: The Conseil National de la Jeunesse (CNJ) is chaired by the state secretary of the Department and is elected from 180 councils in the regions and youth associations and unions. The other, Comité pour les Relations Nationales et Internationals des Associations de Jeunesse et d´Education Populaire (CNAJEP), is elected amongst 74 national associations and is more focused on educational matters. There is no network of experts in France working on youth issues in general. ii. Regional/local level In France there are regions and departments for regional/local administration. Since the law of 2 March 1982 on decentralisation, the departments were entrusted with the administrative branch of child protection. The Aide Social à l’Enfance (ASE) implements the directives of the departmental Council in coordination with the PMI (Protection Maternelle Infantile) and the SSP (Service Social Polyvalent. Since Law of 13 August 2004, the President of the departmental Council heads the social services in his department. He has a duty to prevent child mistreatment, to identify and protect mistreated children and to coordinate the action of all the administrative agencies. The ASE is an administrative agency, organised locally under the authority of the President of the Departmental Council, which through individualised and collective action provides assistance and advice to families of endangered or mistreated children. ASE is the major actor of French child protection, including sexual violence. Since a law of 22 July 1983, the ASE became in charge of child protection, which was renamed social service for children. The main missions of the ASE are to provide financial, educational and psychological support to children, to raise awareness about children mistreatment by collecting and organising data pertaining thereto, to receive, advise, and monitor the situation of neglected children, and to identify, report and take protective measures for children in dangerous situations.13 In 2004, the ASE assisted approximately 270.000 children, among which around 50% was still living with their families. 14 The ASE offers tailored interventions adapted to each situation. Its assistance may take the form of financial support, social workers intervention at the family’s domicile. The ASE plays also a central role the prevention of violence against children by alerting the public prosecutor or the judicial authorities about any situation requiring immediate action.15 Although The Service Social Polyvalent (SSP) is not focused on children protection, its general social mission of ensuring social justice and preventing violence leads it to interact constantly with the ASE and to be an important player in child protection. The SSP works closely with the community and local authorities. SNATEM : National Hotline Service for Maltreated Children Website Type of organisation Short description

www.allo119.gouv.fr/ Public service. Toll-free number dedicated to young people facing violence or mistreatments.

13

Law of 10 July 1989 pertaining to the prevention of mistreatments of minors and children was codified at Article L. 221-1 of the CASF (Code de láction sociale et des familles). 14

137.000 children living with relatives or trustworthy persons and 133.000 maintained in their family and subject to AEMO-AED (Action Educative en Milieu Ouvert/Aide Educative à Domicile). 15

It shares its reporting mission with the PMI and other professionals. 5


Country Report France, 2012

Défenseur des droits Website Type of organisation Short description

www.defenseurdesdroits.fr/ Public service. The defender of rights is an independent constitutional authority. Unique in its kind, it is responsible for ensuring the protection of your rights and your freedoms and equality.

ONED (Observatoire National de l’Enfance en danger) Website Type of organisation Short description

www.oned.fr Public service. Collects data from local administrations in charge of detecting and protecting children and young victims of mistreatments and violence or who are involved in criminal activities or misdemeanors. Publishes annual reports and various studies on the protection of children and adolescents.

Le Collectif Féministe Contre le Viol (CFCV) Website Type of organisation Short description

www.cfcv.asso.fr/ NGO. Toll-free number dedicated to victims of rape and sexual assault.

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Country Report France, 2012

D. RESEARCH ON PREVALENCE, RISK FACTORS AND EVIDENCE BASED INTERVENTION Inclusion criteria: Studies from 2000 onwards; only quantitative studies; only studies reporting youth sexual aggression (excluding cases of childhood sexual abuse, as defined by legal age of consent). For exceptions, see individual studies. No.

Author

Year of public.

Study characteristics Prevalence data

Incidence data

Perpetration data

Victimization data

Heterosexual aggression

Same-sex aggression

Risk factors/ outcomes

1

Jaspard, M., & the ENVEFF team

2001

x

-

-

x

Not specified

Not specified

-

2

Bajos, N., & Bozon, M.

2008

x

-

-

x

x

x

x

2010

x

-

-

x

Not specified

Not specified

x

3

0

0

3

1

1

2

Legleye, S., Beck, F., 1. Peretti-Watel, P., Chau, N., & Firdion, J. Total

1.

Jaspard, M., & the ENVEFF team (2001). Violence against women: The first French national survey. Population & Sociétés, 364, 1-4. www.ined.fr/fichier/t_publication/138/publi_pdf2_pop_and_soc_english_364.pdf Fougeyrollas-Schwebel, D. (2005). Violence against women in France: The context, findings and impact of the Enveff survey. www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/egm/vaw-stat-2005/docs/expert-papers/fougeyrollas.pdf

Year of data collection Type of sample Sample composition

Design Measurement of sexual aggression Type of data collected

Relationship(s) between victim and perpetrator Incidence Prevalence

March-July 2000. A representative sample of women living in metropolitan France but not in an institution.  N = 6.970.  Only female.  Age range 20 to 59.  Cross-sectional.  Part of a larger study (National survey on violence against women). Six sections of the interview asked about sexual violence experience in the last 12 months (in public places, at work or at school/university, in their current relationship, with a former partner, within the family or social circle).  One-year prevalence (last 12 months prior to the survey).  Victimization reports from women.  Sex constellation between victim and perpetrator not specified. Data provided for different place where sexual aggression occurs: in public places, at work, within relationship. N/a Summary of prevalence findings regarding victimization In public places:  sexual harassment and assault (being subjected to unwanted physical contact): o aged 20-24: 6.4%; o aged 25-34: 2.6%;

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Country Report France, 2012

 

sexual abuse (unwanted petting, attempted rape, rape): o total 0.1%; global indicators of sexual harassment (having been followed or been in the presence of an exhibitionist or suffered sexual advances or sexual assault, at least once): o aged 20-24: 2.9%; o aged 25-34: 9.9%.

At work:  sexual assault (touching, attempts to force sexual acts, forced sexual acts) were rare;  sexual harassment (unwanted sexual advances, exhibitionists, voyeurs, been groped, forcefully kissed, forced to look at pornographic images): o aged 20-24: 4.3%; o aged 25-34%: 2.8%.

Findings regarding risk factors Findings regarding outcomes or consequences

Violence within a relationship:  rape and other forced sexual acts: o aged 20-24: 1.2%; o aged 25-34: 0.9%. N/a N/a

2. Bajos, N., & Bazon, M. (2008). Sexual violence in France: breaking the silence. Population & Sociétés, 445, 1-4. www.ined.fr/fichier/t_publication/1359/publi_pdf2_pesa445.pdf Year of data collection Type of sample Sample composition

Design

Measurement of sexual aggression Type of data collected Relationship(s) between victim and perpetrator Incidence

2006. General population survey about sexuality in France. The current study selected those participants between 18 and 75 years old who had a landline telephone number or a mobile phone.  Total: N = 12.364, n = 6.824 female, n = 5.540 male.  Sample aged 18-69. For the purpose of this report data only on sample aged 18-24 are reported (no separate information about the ‘n’ for sample of young participants).  Cross-sectional.  Study on general population addressing the frequency, circumstances and consequences of sexual violence. Participants were asked if they had experienced forced sexual touching, forced sexual intercourse, attempted forced intercourse at any time in their life. When answered positively, they were asked by whom, at what age and how many times it happened.  Lifetime prevalence.  Sex constellation specified (homosexual and heterosexual).  Victimization reports by both women and men. Specified in family, school, peer groups, partners and co-workers.

N/a

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Country Report France, 2012

Prevalence

Summary of prevalence findings regarding victimization Attempted forced intercourse:  18-19 years of age: o women: 8.5 %; o men: 4.5 %;  20-24: o women: 9.8 %; o men: 2.7 %. Completed forced intercourse:  18-19 years of age: o women: 4.4 %; o men: 1.4 %;  20-24: o women: 6.0 %; o men: 1.9 %. Prevalence regarding same-sex sexual contacts:  Among women who had a homosexual relationship at some time in their life, 44% experienced unwanted sexual contacts (compared to 15% of heterosexual women) and among men reporting homosexual relationships, the rate was 23% (versus 5% for heterosexual men). The vast majority of assaults occurred before age 18.

Findings regarding risk and resilience factors

Relationship constellation between the victim & perpetrator:  35% of women aged over 40 who experienced forced sexual intercourse for the first time after age 18 reported that the perpetrator was a spouse or a partner;  women who experienced sexual violence before age 18 mainly reported their father, step-father or a family member as the perpetrator(s) (27% of cases), or persons known to them (31%). Summary of findings regarding risk factors for victimization Same-sex partners:  persons who had same-sex partners had a substantially higher rate forced intercourse or attempted forced intercourse than persons who only had opposite-sex partners. Young age:  the vast majority of assaults occur before age 18.

Findings regarding consequences or outcomes

Social status:  frequency before age 18 for both men and women varies little by father’s social category, the percentage was highest (10%) among daughters of men in higher-level occupations. Among women, the frequency of forced sexual intercourse or attempted forced sexual intercourse after age 18 ranged from 6% to 10% depending on social status (while it varied little among men), with slightly higher figures for women in higher-level occupations and those who were self-employed. Not reported in English summary.

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Country Report France, 2012

3. Legleye, S., Beck, F., Peretti-Watel, P., Chau, N., & Firdion, J. (2010). Suicidal ideation among young French adults: Association with occupation, family, sexual activity, personal background and drug use. Journal of Affective Disorders, 123, 108-115. Year of data collection Type of sample

2004-2005.

Sample composition

 N = 4.075.  n = 1.842 male, n = 2.233 female.  n 18-25 years old = 2.093, n 26-20 years old = 1.982. Cross-sectional survey study. Part of larger study on health in general French population. Sexual victimization was measured by one item: ‘having experienced forced sexual intercourse in lifetime’.

Design Measurement of sexual aggression Type of data collected Relationship(s) between victim and perpetrator Incidence Prevalence

Findings regarding risk and resilience factors Findings regarding consequences or outcomes

Large national general population sample. The current study selected those participants between 18 and 30 years old who had a landline telephone number.

 Prevalence (lifetime).  Victimization reports by both women and men.  Sex constellation between victim and perpetrator not specified. N/a

N/a Summary of prevalence findings regarding victimization Of the sample of 4075 participants, 121 reported experience with forced sexual intercourse during their lifetime (2.9%). N/a

Summary of findings regarding consequences For women, experiencing forced sexual intercourse was related to suicide ideation. Among men, this association did not exist.

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Y-SAV Country Report France, 2012  

In 2010, a European project addressing Youth Sexual Aggression and Victimization (Y-SAV) was launched. Y-SAV is a three-year project co-fina...

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