Higher penalties for sexual abuse of minors

The lower house of the Polish parliament (Sejm) voted on Thursday for changes in the penal code, including higher penalties for sexual abuse of minors.

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The most significant changes introduced to the penal code include up to 30 years in prison for raping a child, lifetime imprisonment with no possibility for the parole in the most serious cases and no statute of limitation of crime concerning sexual abuse of minors.

The new law includes also no suspension for the sentences for people sexually abusing minors. Moreover, the profession of those convicted will be revealed in the so-called “paedophile register.”

A total of 263 MPs voted for the new regulations, three were against it and also three abstained. The ruling Law and Justice party, 15 MPs of Kukiz’15 caucus, and 23 MPs of smaller caucuses and independent supported changes in the penal code.

The vast majority of Civic Platform-Civic Coalition (PO-KO) caucus did not take part in the vote, only two of them supported the changes. Members of the Modern party also did not vote. The opposition politicians called the changes a “deception”.

To complete the legislative process the new law requires voting in the Upper House (Senate) and approval from the president. Both are more than likely to happen soon.

The majority of the new regulations will come into force after three months from announcing it in the official journal.