New draft legislation in the works would modify four types of sexual offences, by changing them from a misdemeanor to a felony and increasing considerably the sentencing lengths.
The new legislative effort comes in the wake of an apparent rise in sexual offences especially against minors. There also have been court rulings and appeals that have revealed a number of gaps within the law.
A recent study by the Justice Ministry has shown there are significant differences in the guidelines for sentencing lengths in the Penal Code compared to the corresponding offences in actual laws.
The difference in the length of sentencing exists even after the House passed a few years ago the Prevention and Combating of Sexual Abuse, Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography Law 91 (I) / 2014, which was necessary to harmonise Cypriot law with European Directives.
Unlawful sexual intercourse with a man or a woman between ages 13 and 17 will carry 20 years instead of two
A legal gap was made obvious during a recent ruling in a Criminal Court, where a young girl was sexually abused by a male predator, according to media reports that did not give further details.
The Ministry is making the case that due to a rise in sexual offences against minors, it is important that sentences take on the additional purpose of deterrence, not just mere punishment.
Four pieces of draft legislation have been prepared that raise the sentencing in the Penal Code, online child pornography laws, family crime and victim protection laws, and sexual exploitation of children laws.
Specifically, attempted rape sentences will change from 10 to 14 years, while incest will jump from 14 to 20 years.
Kidnapping a minor, male or female under 16 year of age will change from a misdemeanor to a felony with a sentence of 10 years in prison.
Indecent or sexual assault, which is one of the most common offences occurring in Cypriot society, will carry 15 years instead of just five, while cases where the victim is a female under the age of 18 will carry 20 years for the guilty person.
Also, unlawful sexual intercourse with a man or a woman under the age of 13 and up to 17 will carry 20 years instead of a mere two, since under the new law it would become a felony.