SPAIN is set to toughen its laws on rape to ensure that intercourse without explicit consent is treated as rape and will be punishable with four to ten years in prison.

The passing of the new bill comes after the so-called ‘wolf-pack’ gang rape case led to protests last year when the men involved were convicted of the lesser offence of sexual abuse.

Currently, under Spain’s laws, rape is an act of sexual assault using violence or intimidation, but now however, any penetration without consent will be deemed as rape.

The tougher sentencing of 15 years will apply to aggravated rape where violence is involved.

When the perpetrator is the victim’s husband or former partner, longer sentences will also be imposed.

Irene Montero, the minister of equality and Podemos party member said: “Spain will be a safer country for women with the approval of this law”.

The bill, which is set to face lengthy debate in parliament, also proposes special courts to deal with sex offences.

Only 9 of 31 European countries including the UK, Sweden and Germany have laws that define rape based on the absence of consent.

This new law comes days before International Women’s Day which will see marches and activities throughout the country.

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