From Coercion to Consent: Rape Law Reform in Switzerland

From Coercion to Consent: Rape Law Reform in Switzerland

Due to the reconceptualization of rape and other sexual offenses as violations of the victim’s sexual autonomy and in view of the obligations arising from international and regional human rights law, more and more European legal systems are revising their understanding of sexual offenses to reflect the victim’s consent. The wind of change has reached Switzerland, too.
The introduction of a consent-based definition of rape is currently a subject of discussion in Switzerland. Like the criminal laws of many other countries, the Swiss Criminal Code still defines rape as “coerced sexual intercourse” involving either violence, threats, or psychological pressure. Until today, the ignoring of the victim’s explicit “no,” without more, is not sufficient to establish the definitional elements of the sexual offense of rape.
The aim of the project is to monitor closely the progress of the reform process and to examine and discuss the reform proposals in Switzerland. Furthermore, a response to the consultation process (a key element of Switzer­land's legislative system) will be developed and submitted to the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police.


Expected outcome: scientific articles; participation in the consultation process
Research focus: II. Regulating Intimate Relations
Project languages: German, English
Photo: © Melodie Descoubes/Unsplash



Scheidegger, N. (2018). Das Sexualstrafrecht der Schweiz: Grundlagen und Reformbedarf. Stämpfli: Bern.

Schei­deg­ger, N. (2019). Straf­recht­li­ches Neu­land: Ste­al­thing (Ur­teil­san­mer­kung),
FRI Newslet­ter (09/2019).

Scheidegger, N., Lavoyer, A., & Stalder, T. (2020). Reformbedarf im schweizerischen Sexualstrafrecht: «Egoistisch, rücksichtslos, kaltherzig» – aber strafrechtlich nicht relevant? Sui generis, 57–75. doi:10.21257/sg.122
Scheidegger, N. (2020). Kommentierung der Art. 187-200 StGB. In D. K. Graf (Ed.), StGB: annotierter Kommentar (pp. 1146–1206). Bern: Stämpfli.
Scheidegger, N. (2020). Kommentierung der Art. 372-380a StGB. In D. K. Graf (Ed.), StGB: annotierter Kommentar (pp. 1824–1837). Bern: Stämpfli.

Planned Publications

  • Ba­lan­cing Se­xu­al Au­to­no­my, Re­spon­si­bi­li­ty, and the Right to Pri­va­cy: Prin­cip­les for Cri­mi­na­li­zing Sex by De­cep­ti­on, Ger­man Law Jour­nal, Spe­ci­al Is­sue 2021
  • Re­form des Se­xual­straf­rechts: Was bis­her ge­sch­ah (vor­aus­sicht­lich ZStrR)
  • Ver­nehm­las­sungs­ant­wort

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