Summary: 1. Introduction. – 2. The Main International Instruments Meant to Protect the Rights of the Child. – 3. The Problem of Voluntary Incestuous Intercourse between Adults and Minors. – 4. The Purpose of Criminalising the Incestuous Intercourse between Direct Relatives and Siblings. – 5. Conclusions.
Background: The notion that incest is an extremely widespread problem in contemporary society has been rejected by most of the scientific community until the last couple of decades. Therefore, legal professionals and national legislators have only recently begun to understand the need to act in order to prevent the long-lasting, harmful effects that such relations might have upon the participants.
Methods: In order to achieve the main objective of this paper, the authors have reviewed a selection of primary sources (mainly legal norms included in various national and international legal instruments). They have also consulted secondary sources, trying to obtain the relevant interdisciplinary data from legal, historical, and psychological studies. This paper does not intend to outline the complete state of the art concerning studies on the phenomenon of incest, therefore only the most relevant data regarding the prevention of incest by the enactment of the norms on the protection of the fundamental rights of the children have been collected. The goal of this paper is to present a few considerations regarding the link between the implementation of the fundamental rights of the child and the criminalisation of incestuous relations between members of the same nuclear family.
Results and Conclusion: The results of this brief study are worrisome, to say the least, as it appears that the states that are actively promoting the rights of the children also have a veritable tradition of denying the extent of the phenomenon of incest and actively and/or passively ignore its perils.