Today in France, a person victim of incest has until his 48 years, that is to say 30 years after his majority to file a complaint against his aggressor. Beyond this period, there is limitation. Should this deadline be removed? Among legal professionals, the subject is debated.

Making incest crimes imprescriptible is what many associations, supported by some magistrates, are calling for.

We have to do away with the prescription in this kind of case because we have to think about the victims. A child is the person who must be protected the most, by telling him “all your life you can always reveal this thing”. So that she does not feel that the crime that has been committed against her has gone unpunished. In all the countries of the world, you see these things evolving, so why with us it does not evolve? », Explains Me Jean-Paul Laborde, former Under-Secretary General at the UN, honorary adviser to the Court of Cassation.

The prescription would help the victim to file a complaint

But according to other magistrates, it is necessary to keep the prescription, a principle of criminal law, which in some cases would even help the victim to file a complaint.

For Me Marie Grimaud, lawyer specializing in the defense of children, removing the statute of limitations would give victims false hope.

Making things imprescriptible is a symbolic measure but in fact the biggest obstacle for incest victims is not a question of prescription, it is a question of how their word is received in justice, how they are brought to justice and does this word lead to a trial at the end of the judicial process. Which is not the case. In France, our legal system has great difficulty hearing the particularities of a word from a victim of incest », She explains.

According to the State Secretariat for Children, more than 70% of proceedings for sexual violence against minors do not lead to a trial.