Spain - April 2023
Parliament approves amendments to sexual consent law
Parliament approved amendments to the sexual consent law, known as “Solo sí es sí,” which reformed the criminal code to remove the legal distinction between sexual abuse and rape, thereby widening the range of penalties for both crimes. The amendments were introduced in response to a loophole in the law’s sentencing guidelines, which led to the release of more than 100 offenders and reduced sentences for almost 1,000 others, generating backlash. The amendments are designed to strengthen minimum penalties, in order to mitigate retroactive sentence reductions and releases, and re-introduce a distinction between sexual assault with and without violence or intimidation. The amendments were opposed by Podemos, the party that spearheaded the law in August 2022, who view the new changes as shifting the burden of proof back onto the victim, undoing what had been the original law’s primary accomplishment. The amendments were termed a “severe setback to women’s rights” by Podemos member Irene Montero, Minister for Equality.