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Indecent Assault

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The offence of ‘Indecent assault’ was replaced in 2018 by the new offence of Sexual touching.

However, historical offences (ie. if the alleged incident occurred before 2018) are still charged as indecent assault. That is why it is important that your lawyer was practising when indecent assault charges were commonplace.

We have over 10 years’ experience in both sexual touching and indecent assault cases. See our recent results for indecent assault charges.

Contact us today to speak to our Law Society accredited specialist criminal lawyer.

WHAT SHOULD I DO?

  • PLEADING NOT GUILTY

    What is Indecent Assault?

    Under Section 61L of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), the definition of indecent assault is any act of touching that right minded persons would consider contrary to community standards.

    In determining whether your actions were contrary to community standards, the court consider:

    • Whether you did the touching for sexual gratification or arousal
    • The area of the alleged victim’s body that you touched;
    • Anything else about touching or circumstances that might make it contrary to community standards.

     

    This is a ‘Table 2’ offence under the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW). As such, it is finalised in the Local Court unless the prosecution elects to deal with it in the District Court.

    How Do You Beat an Indecent Assault Charge?

    You can fight an Indecent assault charge in two ways. Firstly, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt:

    1. you assaulted the alleged victim; and
    2. that assault was contrary to community standards; and
    3. the alleged victim did not give you consent; and
    4. you either:
    • knew that the alleged victim was not consenting; or
    • realised there was a possibility the alleged victim was not consenting but went ahead anyway; or
    • did not consider whether the alleged victim was consenting or not.

     

    Secondly, there are defences open to you.

    Any sexual allegations are treated extremely seriously. The #metoo movement has engendered a significant change in the attitudes of Magistrates, Judges and juries. The particular emphasis on historical sexual allegations has made fighting such accusations more difficult than ever before.

    That is why it is crucial that you speak to a specialist criminal lawyer for indecent assault charges as soon as possible to begin preparing your defence.

    Contact us today to speak to our friendly team.

     

    What is Aggravated Indecent Assault?

    Under Section 61M of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), the definition if aggravated indecent assault is touching someone in a manner contrary to community standards while a circumstance of aggravation exists.

    The most common circumstance is due to the alleged victim being under the age of 16, sometimes known as indecent assault on a minor.

    This is a ‘Table 1’ offence under the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW). As such, it is finalised in the Local Court unless the prosecution elects to deal with it in the District Court.

     

    How Do You Beat an Aggravated Indecent Assault Charge?

    You can fight an Aggravated indecent assault charge in two ways. In addition to the elements of a regular indecent assault offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt:

    1. You were in the company of another person(s); or
    2. The alleged victim was under the age of 16 years; or
    3. The alleged victim was under your authority; or
    4. The alleged victim had a serious physical disability or cognitive impairment.

     

    If none of the above elements can be proven, you can be found ‘not guilty’ of this offence. However, you may still be guilty of a regular indecent assault offence.

    Secondly, there are defences which are available.

     

    What is Consent?

    See our page on consent.

     

    What are the Defences to Indecent Assault?

    You can be found ‘not guilty’ to this charge if one of the following defences to indecent assault apply:

    1. Consent:You held an honest and reasonable belief that the alleged victim was giving
    2. Identification: The Crown cannot establish that you were the perpetrator. We have a number of experts (such as DNA, fingerprint, CCTV and intoxication experts) who are able to cast doubt on identification in certain situations;
    3. There was a legitimate medical purpose for the touching;
    4. Accident:if any touching was purely an accident. An example of this could be bumping into another person on a train and accidentally touching their private parts;
    5. Automatism: This is where the touching was involuntary
    6. Duress: You were forced to commit the offence
    7. Necessity: the commission of the offence was necessary in the circumstances
  • PLEADING GUILTY

    If after receiving detailed advice from an accredited specialist in criminal law, you decide that the best course if for you to plead guilty, we will need to begin preparing for sentencing.

    Our guide will be of some general assistance, but you will need to consult our senior indecent assault solicitors for representation in Court and advice specific to your case.

    Contact us now to speak to our friendly team.

     

    What is the Penalty for Indecent Assault?

    The maximum penalty for indecent assault is 5 years imprisonment if dealt with on indictment (ie. The prosecutor chooses to have the case proceed to the District Court). The maximum penalty in the Local Court is 2 years imprisonment.

    There is also an offence of Aggravated indecent assault which carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment if dealt with on indictment (ie. If the case proceeds to the District Court). The maximum penalty in the Local Court is 2 years imprisonment.

     

    What are the Possible Sentences for Indecent Assault?

    Below is a list of possible sentencing options for an indecent assault charge:

    1. Section 10 dismissal
    2. Conditional release order without conviction (previously known as Section 10 good behaviour bond)
    3. Fine
    4. Conditional release order with conviction (previously known as Section 9 good behaviour bond)
    5. Community Corrections Order (previously known as Community Service Order)
    6. Intensive Corrections Order
    7. Home Detention Order
    8. Full Time Imprisonment

     

    Offences of this nature often result in a term of imprisonment. This is borne out in the sentencing statistics set out below.

     

    Will You Go to Jail for Indecent Assault?

    Statistics for Indecent Assault charges since 2018 reveal that 33% of offenders were sentenced to some form of jail for this offence. 16% were sentenced to full-time imprisonment. 16% of offenders received no criminal conviction for indecent assault. All remaining offenders received criminal convictions.

    As you can see, the Courts take this offence very seriously. That is why you should consult Australia’s best indecent assault lawyers.

FAQ

What is the Difference Between Indecent Assault and Sexual Assault?

Indecent Assault is a less serious charge than Sexual Assault. Sexual Assault generally requires some form of penetration or oral sex (eg. cunnilingus). Indecent assault does not require any penetration or even touching of a person’s private parts. For example, placing your hand on someone’s leg with a sexual connotation can be enough for you to be found guilty of sexual assault.