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16 is age of consent for sexual relations, 14 in some cases

Sexual majority, which allows a young person to consent to sexual relations, is generally placed at 16 years of age. A young person aged at least 14 will also be allowed to give his/her enlightened consent when the age difference is a maximum of 5 years and no position of authority or trust with him/her is involved, according to the reform of the second book of the Penal Code approved Friday at the Ministers’ Council.

This reform aims especially at bringing more coherence into certain definitions of violations in the new Penal Code. New infringements also appear in the Penal Code. For instance, inmates’ escape, without any other incriminating act, will be as of now prone to criminal sanctions.

Lastly, some sentences are also heavier. This will the case for most of the serious sexual offenses, such as violation of sexual integrity or rape. As for rape, the prison sentence goes from one month to five years (after the case has been committed to a criminal court) to imprisonment from five to ten years (level 4).

From now on, all infringements are classified at eight levels of sentences and categorized thematically into seven groups: violations of international humanitarian law, offenses against persons, offenses against public security, frauds, patrimonial offenses, economic infractions and offenses against the State.

The sentences will be structured and subdivided into levels: two levels for penal sentences (prison sentence going from more than 20 years to life) and six levels for correctional sentences.

The Brussels Times