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Sexual Offences

Under Section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 it is an offence for a male or female to intentionally touch anyone else sexually without that person’s consent. Any form of sexual contact without that person’s consent is regarded as sexual abuse. Sexual assault against the person could be anything from inappropriate touching through to a life-threatening sexual attack, rape or any other penetration of the mouth, vagina or anus. There can be many other counts of differing types of offences against the perpetrator.


What is the maximum penalty for sexual assault?

The maximum penalty for a person found guilty of sexual assault could be a 10 year custodial prison sentence.

What constitutes the crime of rape under the Sexual Offences Act?

Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 it is a crime for a male to penetrate the vagina of a female or the anus or mouth of a female or male with his penis.

What is the maximum penalty for rape?

If found guilty of the crime of rape the convicted could face a life term of imprisonment.

What constitutes the crime of assault by penetration under the Act?

Assault by penetration is an offence whereby a male or female penetrates the vagina or anus of another person without that person’s consent. Penetration can be made by a part of the body (such as the fingers) or anything else that is not a body part but which was used for the purpose of penetration with a sexual intent.

What constitutes consent?

It must be clearly established that consent was given for the accused to escape prosecution. When a person is accused of a sexual offence they must be able to demonstrate that they believed they had consent from the other party prior to commencing activity of a sexual nature.

Forensic examination

It is a good idea for the victims of a sexual assault to consent to a forensic examination. It is important to gather evidence, for criminal court proceedings, against the person who has committed the assault. It remains the victims right to decide whether or not to press charges.

Sexual offences and the age of consent

The age of consent is the age whereby an individual can engage in consensual sexual activity – it is set at 16 regardless of whether the individual is partaking in heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual acts.

The law is intended to protect the rights and interests of young people who are not yet old enough to make a choice about engaging in sexual activity.

Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 the law does not intend to prosecute young people who engage in sexual activity with other young people – unless the case involves some form of exploitation or abuse.

How can AFG LAW help me if I am charged with a sexual offence?

AFG LAW have a team of experienced criminal law experts who can help you if you have been accused of committing a sexual offence. Criminal law can sometimes be complex and difficult to fully understand – we can help you make sense of the charges against you, evaluate the evidence and advise how to proceed.

We can help you prepare your defence, represent you at trial and even help you with your appeal if it should be necessary. Should you be convicted, we can identify any appropriate mitigating factors or circumstances which may help to reduce your sentence or penalty.

Our criminal law solicitors can help you with your case and provide expert legal advice and representation throughout. If you’d like more information on sexual offences please email or ring 01204 377 600 – we’ll explain how AFG LAW’s criminal law specialists can help.

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