Bundestag lowers minimum sentence for sexual violence against children

As of: May 17, 2024 11:48 a.m

The Bundestag has reduced the minimum penalty for possessing and distributing depictions of sexual violence against children. In practice, the rule led to unintended consequences.

The minimum penalties for possession and distribution of depictions of sexual violence against children will be reduced again. The Bundestag has passed a law from Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann.

The minimum sentence for distribution is now six months. A minimum penalty of three months applies for accessing and possessing such material.

Penalties were only increased three years ago

The penalties were only increased in 2021. Since then, anyone who spreads depictions of sexual violence against children has had to expect a prison sentence of between one and ten years.

The reform that has now been passed does not change the maximum sentence, which has been increased to ten years.

Parents or classmates committed a criminal offense

In the past three years, it was no longer easily possible to avoid punishment due to the increase in the minimum sentence. Acts that carry a minimum penalty of one year in prison in the criminal code are considered crimes.

That’s why a mother had to expect a prison sentence if, for example, she forwarded a naked photo from her son’s cell phone to other parents in order to alert them. That has now been changed again.

“What was well-intentioned has led to numerous problems in the practice of criminal prosecution,” explained Justice Minister Buschmann.

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