Sexual assault is defined as a person intentionally touching another person in a sexual manner whilst the other person is not consenting and whilst the offender does not reasonably believe that the other person is consenting to the touching. The offence can be found in Section 40 of the Crimes Act 1958.
There are several variations on this offence, such as sexual assault by compelling sexual touching, where the victim has been compelled to touch the offender. Other variations of sexual assault include offences where the victim is a child. In these cases, the prosecution does not need to prove that the child was not consenting. Rather, the touching must be contrary to community standards of acceptable conduct.
Sexual assaults can range from very serious examples of forceful, even violent non-consensual activity against the victim’s will, to much less serious conduct such as slapping someone on the buttocks over their clothing without their consent.