Sweden’s new sexual consent law comes into effect

Sweden’s tightened laws on sex crimes take effect on Sunday, meaning that having sex with someone without their explicit consent will now be illegal.

Sweden’s new sexual consent law comes into effect
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
Under the new law, sexual participants need to agree in words or clearly demonstrate they want to engage in sexual activity, with passivity not considered a sign of voluntary participation. Sex will be considered a criminal act if it was not entered into voluntarily by both partners, whether or not violence or threats were used. 
There will also no longer be a need to prove intent for some very serious sex crimes, which means an alleged offender could be convicted even if he or she did not actively intend to rape the victim.
The punishment for aggravated rape and rape of a child will be increased from a minimum of five years in jail, as opposed to the current four years. Parliament also urged the government to put forward a proposal to increase the punishment for rape in general to three years' imprisonment.
When the new law comes into force on Sunday, Sweden will be the tenth country in Western Europe to recognize sex without consent as rape.
While the debate around the new consent law has dominated headlines in Sweden and abroad, it is not the only legal change Swedes will see on July 1st. Laws on begging, unemployment benefits and vehicle taxes are among the other new changes coming into effect.