Sexually touching someone without their consent is a criminal offence in NSW. On December 1, 2018, the offence of Indecent Assault was replaced by the offence of Sexual Touching in New South Wales. This change was implemented as part of a comprehensive set of reforms aimed at modernising and bringing greater consistency to sexual offences, particularly those involving children and individuals in special care relationships.
Under the new law, sexual touching carries a maximum penalty of 5 years’ imprisonment. In cases where the offence is aggravated, the maximum penalty increases to 7 years’ imprisonment. These maximum penalties are the same as those that applied to Indecent Assault and Aggravated Indecent Assault (in cases where the victim was 16 years of age or older), respectively.
Additionally, new offences have been introduced to address situations where the complainant is under the age of 16 or between 16 and 18 and under the special care of the accused.
Sexual touching refers to a situation where a defendant, without the victim’s consent, performs any of the following actions:
According to Section 61HB of the Crimes Act, a sexual touching offence occurs when a person touches another individual:
When determining if a reasonable person would view the touching as sexual, the court considers the following factors:
To secure a conviction for sexual touching, the police must prove the following:
For an aggravated offence, the police must also prove one of the following:
In New South Wales, sexual touching is now considered a new offence, replacing the previous offence of indecent assault. The specific penalties imposed by the court will vary depending on the particular circumstances surrounding the act of touching.
The court has the authority to impose the following conditions:
Conditional Release Order (CRO)
Community Corrections Order (CCO)
Intensive Corrections Order (ICO)
Apart from the obligation to establish each element or aspect of the offence, the prosecution is also required to refute the presence of any of the following defences if raised appropriately:
The seriousness of the offence of sexual touching varies depending on the circumstances, and the Police can typically establish the required elements without significant difficulty.
Our team of sexual assault lawyer in Sydney possesses extensive expertise in this field, and we encourage you to reach out to us if you require legal representation. We are dedicated to safeguarding your legal rights. Our free consultation lawyers are available to assist you 24/7.
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