Penalties for sexual offences can be severe and are increasing over time. So if you are charged with a sexual offence, it is important to engage a criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in defending these charges.
The expert defence solicitors at Slades & Parsons are highly experienced, can answer any questions you have on charges you’re facing, and can help you defend the allegations and prepare for court.
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.
Sexual offences encompass a broad range of crimes including rape, which involves penetration without consent, sexual assault, defined above, incest, sex slavery, possessing or producing child abuse material, grooming children for sexual activity, and sexual exposure.
Sexual offences demand considered and careful inquiry by our Courts. Sexual offending is generally regarded as a particularly grave and concerning type of behaviour, calling for strict punishment and close monitoring.
Increasingly, the justice system is becoming alert to the need to efficiently and smoothly deal with sexual offences. Many provisions are now in place to protect complainants in sexual matters as much as possible. These include special hearings, where child complainants give pre-recorded evidence outside the courtroom without the jury, and with a support worker present in the room with them. Similarly, when cross-examined, children and other vulnerable witnesses can ask to use intermediaries, who help to interpret for the Court what the witness is trying to convey.
It is equally important that those accused with offences of a sexual nature are competently and rigorously defended so that they can properly understand the complicated process of facing such charges.