Germany to reform rape law to help victims file complaints

The German government has agreed to reform the country's law on sexual crimes to improve victims' ability to file complaints against their attackers.

The bill agreed upon Wednesday by Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet wouldn't require proof that victims resisted their attackers before rape charges can be brought.

Under the proposed law, which needs Parliamentary approval, attackers could be convicted of rape if they surprise their victims or exploit the fact that victims fear greater violence if they resist.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas says the reforms are needed because only 8 percent of rape trials result in convictions in Germany and studies show only one in ten rapes is reported.

A string of attacks in Cologne on New Year's Eve has sparked a wide debate about sexual violence in Germany.