Amendments to Penal Code strengthen mechanisms to protect victims of violence

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Amendments to the Penal Code that the government sent to parliament on Thursday are aimed at strengthening mechanisms for the protection of victims of domestic violence and sexual violence and harassment, and in future, sexual harassment will be prosecuted ex officio.

The amendments introduce several new criminal offences, including the "abuse of recordings of explicit sexual content" to punish acts connected to "revenge pornography."

Sanctions for revenge pornography

The amendments envisage penalties for persons who pass intimate recordings made consensually and for personal use on to others (one or more people), without the approval of the person filmed.

The use of deepfake pornography, where modern technology is used to manipulate explicit content to violate a person's privacy, will also be punishable.

These offences will be punishable with one to three years' imprisonment if the recording is made available to a larger number of persons.

Expanding definition of "close person"

The protection of guaranteed rights of the child and other categories of vulnerable persons is being expanded, with failure to act being specified as a way to commit a crime, Justice Minister Ivan Malenica explained.

The changes also bring a revision of the measures of compulsory psycho-social treatment, eviction from the marital home and ban on conducting certain duties and activities and supervision upon the completion of one's prison sentence, he added.

With the aim of combatting gender violence and strengthening the protection of victims, the definition of "close person" will be expanded and in future it will include current and former intimate partners, people who are, or were, in an intimate relationship and not just family members, former spouses, life partners, de facto partners or people with whom the victim has a child or lives in the same household.

All offences committed by close persons will also be prosecuted ex officio and the crime of sexual abuse or exploitation of a minor will no longer have a statute of limitations.

Text: Hina