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Thailand’s sex crime laws toughened



GRAPHICS: Nation Graphics

Thailand is toughening its sex crime laws related to rape in a bid to better curb sexual assault crimes.

For example, sexual attacks against children below the age of 13 will result in life imprisonment under the tougher law, while penalties will double for rapists who share recordings of the assault. The new law also recognises sexual crimes against men and corpses.

The act to amend the Criminal Code’s rape section prescribes harsher punishments against sexual attackers and recognises new forms of the crime. The death penalty can be applied in cases where the victim dies as a result of sexual violence.

Panadda Wongphudee, a former beauty queen-turned-campaigner, is hailing the new law as being more comprehensive and in line with the modern context.

“For instance, it addresses the issue of audio and video recordings of sexual assaults,” she said.

“Under this law, police can no longer push victims to settle the matter out of court.”

Thailand's sex crime laws toughened | News by Thaiger

Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation has been following reports in 13 newspapers to monitor the frequency of sexual violence. In 2017, 317 cases of sexual crimes were reported. Of the victims, 60.6% were aged between five and 20, while 30.9% were aged between 41 and 60. The oldest victim was 90 years old.

WMP also highlighted the fact that 53% of the rapists were very close to the victims or members of their family. This is also possibly the reason why the newly introduced law seeks to toughen the penalty for sexual crimes committed against relatives.

“Only 38.2% of rapists were complete strangers,” according to WMP, adding that some 8.8% of rapists had met their victims through social media.

Inebriation also played a part in about a third of the sexual crimes reported, according to The Nation story.

Social Equality Promotion Foundation’s director Supensri Puengkhokesoong said she was worried about the enforcement process.

“No matter how good the law is, its effectiveness depends solely on the enforcers,” she said, expressing hope that victims will be given quick access to their legal rights following the crimes.

She said that while the new law in general wields tougher penalties, it also gives the court an option to consider putting offenders below the age of 18, whose victims are between 13 and 15 years old, under welfare protection instead of penalising them.

Thailand's sex crime laws toughened | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation


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