Sexual Offences

There is a wide range of sexual offences from acts of indecency through to sexual assault. You do not even need to touch another person to be found guilty of a sexual offence and if you are found guilty, there can be very serious consequences for you and your family.

If you have been charged with a sexual offence CALL 1800 438 688 for a free case assessment.

When you contact us we will be able to advise you of the best legal strategy to get the best possible outcome.

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What is an act of indecency?

An act of indecency is an offence in which the offender does not touch the victim – for example, when someone exposes their genitals or masturbates in public. You can be found guilty of this offence if you incite someone else to an act of indecency with another person.

What is indecent assault?

Indecent assault can occur when a person assaults another person, and commits an act of indecency. Any assault (touching someone or trying to touch someone) that is indecent or has a sexual connotation. This offence can include touching someone inappropriately for sexual gratification – even trying to kiss someone could be deemed an indecent assault. The maximum penalty is five years’ jail.

Sexual Assault

The offence of Sexual Assault states: “Any person who has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person and who knows that the other person does not consent to the sexual intercourse…”

The crime of Sexual Assault carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment. Aggravated Sexual Assault carries a sentence of 20 years imprisonment while Aggravated Sexual Assault in the Company of Others has a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.


However the court has the option to impose a range of sentences including but not limited to:

  • Suspended sentence
  • Community Service Order
  • Intensive Correction Order
  • Home Detention
  • Issuing a Good Behaviour Bond
  • Imposing a fine
  • Imprisonment

What are aggravating circumstances?

Aggravating circumstances can increase the seriousness of the crime and the penalty. Aggravating circumstances in sexual offences vary depending on the charge; however, they generally cover incidents where there is:

  • actual bodily harm to the victim;
  • a weapon is used;
  • there is more than one offender;
  • the victim is under 16yrs,
  • the victim is under the authority of the offender (eg: teacher or guardian), or
  • the victim has a serious physical disability or a cognitive impairment.

Other sexual offences

Assault with intent to have sexual intercourse

This offence occurs when a person intends to have sexual intercourse with someone and:

  • intentionally or recklessly inflicts bodily harm on a person or someone else who is present or nearby, or
  • threatens to inflict such bodily harm with an offensive weapon or instrument.

Sexual intercourse with a person who has a cognitive impairment

This offence occurs when someone has sexual intercourse with a person with an intellectual disability, and intends to take advantage of the person’s vulnerability. A “Cognitive Impairment” includes an intellectual disability, a developmental disorder, a neurological disorder, dementia, a brain injury or severe mental illness that requires the person to have supervision or even a high level of help with daily activities.

The maximum penalty is 8 years imprisonment, or 10 years if the defendant was in a position of authority over the alleged victim. In these cases the police do not need to prove of the victim’s lack of consent.

Sexual assault by forced self-manipulation

This offence can occur when a person forces someone else (by threats) to engage in self-manipulation – that is, to penetrate their own vagina or anus with an object.

The maximum penalty for this offence is 14 years’ imprisonment, or 20 years if there are aggravating circumstances.

Sexual servitude

This offence occurs when a person forces someone into sexual servitude or to remain in sexual servitude.

The maximum penalty is 15 years’ imprisonment, or 20 years if there are aggravating circumstances.


This is a broad offence and includes filming a person’s private parts without consent; filming a person engaged in a private act without consent; or installing a device to observe or film such acts. Unless these offences are aggravated, they are dealt with summarily and carry a maximum penalty or imprisonment for 2 years.

The content and any linked publications on this website are intended to only provide a general summary and overview on the subject of interest. It is not intended to be or constitute legal advice. Whilst we attempt to update the content the law is constantly changing on this basis we do not guarantee its currency. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the Content within this site or any other legal issue.