SDE tables bill on raising consent age to 16 after sports coach allegations
The group of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) initiated a bill in the parliament on Monday.
Opposition Social Democratic Party (SDE) has tabled a bill which would raise the age of consent for sexual activity to 16. The bill follows sexual abuse allegations surrounding the coach of a top-flight football team.
SDE MP and former health minister Riina Sikkut said: "Our aim is to protect minors from sexual abuse. In Estonia's neighboring states, the age of consent is 16 for instance in Finland, Latvia and Lithuania. The raising of the age of consent has also been discussed repeatedly in Estonia, and it is supported by child protection specialists as well as the doctors and psychologists helping victims of violence."
The current age of consent is 14.
"It is deeply unfortunate that these reactions are only coming after public incidents; however, the window where both the coalition and opposition parties have demonstrated willingness to proceed with raising the age of consent is about to open now," Sikkut added.
Allegations surrounding coach at Nõmme Kalju FC, Brazilian national Fredo Getúlio Aurelio, came to light late last week, with one woman saying Aurelio had sexually abused her when she was 14. Since then, more women have come forward with similar allegations, the football league says, though the club denies it was aware of any of the claims until they hit the media.
The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) launched an investigation on Monday.
The SDE bill is similar in intent to one prposed by the non-parliamentary Green Party, which garnered over 5,000 online signatures, BNS reports, and would carry with it a penalty of up to five years' jail time for those engaging in sexual relations with an individual under 16 if the violator was four or more years older than the victim.
While the individual who approached the media last week, Mia Belle Trisna, was aged 14 and therefore under current Estonian law not under age at the time the alleged incidents started, in 2007, Aurelio is nearly 40 years her senior, and at the time was 52. Trisna also said that abuse had continued for a protracted period of time.
Aurelio appeared on Postimees broadcast "Otse postimehest" Saturday to give his side of the story, and said that the relationship had been consensual.
Riina Sikkut said that even if the bill were to pass or similar legal amendments were made, this was not enough, with societal attitudes requiring change, including work on such phenomena as victim-blaming, bystander syndrome, Stockholm syndrome and similar
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Editor: Andrew Whyte