The Republic of Cyprus’ sexual offences laws are in the Criminal Code 1959 (CC) (as amended), the Prevention and Combating of Sexual Abuse, Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography Law 2014 (PCSAL), and the Violence in the Family (Prevention and Protection of Victims) Laws 2002 and 2004 (VFPL). The Evidence Act 1959 (EA) (as amended) contains the rules of evidence which apply to sexual assault offences.

There have been some positive reform initiatives in Cyprus. For example, marital rape has been criminalised, new child sexual offences have been introduced with close-in-age exceptions, corroboration is no longer required, penalties have been increased to better reflect the gravity of the crimes; and same-sex sexual activity has been decriminalised.

However, some aspects of the laws covered by this review do not reflect good practice, for example, the Criminal Code limits the acts that can constitute sexual assault. Sexual intercourse with a woman who has an intellectual disability is a crime regardless of her consent. The age of consent to sexual activity under the PCSAL is 17 years, but 16 years under the Criminal Code. While there are close-in-age defences to child sexual assault offences under the PCSAL, there are none in the Criminal Code.

Cyprus is a state party to relevant international and regional human rights treaties, including the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Cyprus has also ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

The full assessment of Cyprus isĀ available here.

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