Spain finally approves Child Protection Law and paves the way for a paradigm shift on the rights of minors.
On Thursday, April 15, the Congress of Deputies in Spain’s lower house of parliament approved a pioneering new child protection law aimed at protecting children and adolescents against violence. The legislation was voted through with an absolute majority of 268 votes to 57 – 16 abstained. The decision was not expected in the current political climate.
British concert pianist, James Rhodes, pioneered the new legislation, known as Rhodes Law, in the defence of children’s rights. Rhodes, a Madrid resident, suffered sexual abuse when he was a boy and has been one of the most public faces pushing for a law to combat violence suffered by youngsters and adolescents.
The child protection law must now be passed in the Senate, where more amendments are likely to be presented. More than 40,000 offences against children were recorded in 2019, and children and adolescents make up nearly half of all sexual abuse victims in Spain.
The law aims to cover the rights of children against all forms of violence, from physical abuse to online harassment. Under the current law, the statute of limitations for sexual crimes against children is counted from the moment the victim becomes an adult, the new legislation will be counted from when the victim turns 35, an essential step because adults who have been abused as children often take a long time realising what happened due to memory repression.
On Thursday, Lucía Muñoz from Unidas Podemos said: “We could become a benchmark for the world.” Child defence organizations have been demanding legal reform to protect minors for years. It took four years for the law to come to pass, despite the Committee for the Rights of the Child recommending Spain approve a law to protect children back in 2017.
Source: El Pais