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Austria plans tougher sentences for sexual crimes

Austria’s right-wing government plans to toughen its criminal code by raising sentences for sexual offenders and by strengthening victim protection, Justice Minister, Josef Moser, said on Monday.

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As part of the reform package that has yet to pass Parliament, the minimum sentence for rape will rise from one to two years, in line with laws in Germany and Sweden.

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In addition, convicted rapists will have to spend at least part of their sentence behind bars, rather than having the entire punishment suspended on probation.

Perpetrators, who violate orders to stay away from victims will have to pay at least 2,500 euros (2,800 dollars).

Victims of genital mutilation and of violence that was committed in the name of protecting someone’s perceived honour will be able to change their social security numbers to protect their identities.

The criminal code reform also loosens Austria’s strict doctor-patient confidentiality rules, especially for emergency medics who witness suspected child abuse. (NAN)