'France will tighten law on incest,' says Macron after book sparks outrage

Macron said on his Twitter account that France needs to adapt its laws to better protect children from sexual violence and he had asked the justice minister to chair a consultation aimed at quickly making legislative proposals.
French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he delivers a speech during his visits at the centre of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at Paris-Sarclay university in Orsay, west of Paris, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. France's President Emmanuel Macron will formalize the French strategy on quantum technologies by presenting an investment plan of 1.8 billion euros (US $ 2.18 billion) over five years. (Yoan Valat/Pool Photo via AP)(AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he delivers a speech during his visits at the centre of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at Paris-Sarclay university in Orsay, west of Paris, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. France's President Emmanuel Macron will formalize the French strategy on quantum technologies by presenting an investment plan of 1.8 billion euros (US $ 2.18 billion) over five years. (Yoan Valat/Pool Photo via AP)(AP)
Published on Jan 24, 2021 02:40 PM IST
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Reuters | , France

France will tighten its laws on incest, President Emmanuel Macron said in a series of tweets on Saturday, after publication of a book accusing a top French political commentator of abusing his stepson sparked outrage across the country.

Macron said on his Twitter account that France needs to adapt its laws to better protect children from sexual violence and he had asked the justice minister to chair a consultation aimed at quickly making legislative proposals.

"We will go after the aggressors," Macron said.

Macron said France had already increased the statute of limitations on incest to 30 years, counted from the legal age of majority of the victim, and had tightened controls on people working with children, but he said much more needed to be done.

He said that as part of current routine medical examinations for children, France would introduce sessions about incest in primary and secondary schools in order to give children a chance to talk about the issue.

He also said that better psychological help for victims of incest would be made available and it would be reimbursed by social security.

In recent weeks, hundreds of people have taken to social media to tell their stories of incest after the publication of the book accusing French professor and constitutional specialist Olivier Duhamel of abusing his stepson.

The book was written by Duhamel's stepdaughter Camille Kouchner, daughter of former foreign minister and founder of NGO Médecins Sans Frontières Bernard Kouchner.

Duhamel resigned earlier this month from his post overseeing Sciences Po, one of France's top universities, following publication of the book.

"Being the object of personal attacks and wanting to preserve the institutions in which I work, I put an end to my functions," he said on Twitter on Jan. 4.

Neither Duhamel nor his lawyer have commented on the accusations dating back to the 1980s.

Higher Education Minister Frederique Vidal has ordered an inspection at Sciences Po to determine responsibilities and potential failings.

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