Irene Montero, the Minister for Equality. / EFE

Flagship law to toughen sentences for sexual crimes appears to backfire on ministers

The wording of the parliamentary act is allowing for a reduction of prison time


The government's ruling coalition parties are being forced to defend the recent law that toughened up the definition of sexual offences after it became clear the wording of the act of parliament is leading to judges reducing the length of some sentences instead of increasing them.

The sexual freedoms law, known for short as the "solo sí es sí" (only yes means yes) law, categorises a sexual act on another person as an aggression unless explicit consent is given.

However, while the law toughened up the definition of an offence, as a counter balance it lowered the recommended jail sentences in certain cases.

The result is that judges have started revising terms downwards for some existing sentences. They claim they have to follow the law and that parliament was warned beforehand this would happen.

Some parts of the government are appalled and stress the idea was to increase sentences, suggesting that judges need to be "trained" in what the new legislation means.