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Child Sex Offences

This article discusses child sex offences, including sexual assault, sexual touching, sexual act procurement and grooming offences.  Child sexual offences are extremely serious and carry heavy penalties.  Brander Smith McKnight’s highly experienced criminal lawyers understand the overwhelming and stressful consequences of being charged with a child sexual offence and will defend you.

Child Sexual Assault Offences

Child sexual assault offences vary depending on the age of the alleged victim and the circumstances of the offences.

Children under 10

It is an offence to have sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10. The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment. It is also an offence either to attempt to have sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10 or to assault a child under the age of 10 with the intent to have sexual intercourse. The maximum penalty for this offence is 25 years imprisonment, as outlined in sections 66A and 66B of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Children between 10 and 16

It is an offence to have sexual intercourse with a child between the ages of 10 and 16. Where the victim of this offence is between the ages of 10 and 14, the maximum penalty is 16 years imprisonment. Where the victim of the offence is between the ages of 14 and 16 the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment, as outlined in section 66C of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Increased maximum penalties apply to the offence of having sexual intercourse with a child between 10 and 16 where the offence is committed in circumstances of aggravation. Some examples of circumstances of aggravation include where:

  • The alleged offender intentionally or recklessly inflicts actual bodily harm on the alleged victim or any bystander
  • The alleged offender is in the company of another person or persons
  • The alleged victim has a serious physical disability
  • The alleged victim has a cognitive impairment
  • The alleged offender took advantage of the alleged victim being under the influence of alcohol or a drug in order to commit the offence

The full range of circumstances of aggravation can be found in section 66C(5) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Child Sexual Touching Offences 

Child sexual touching offences vary depending on the age of the alleged victim and the circumstances of the offences, as outlined in sections 66DA and 66DB of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Sexual touching is defined as the touching of another person, with any part of the body or with anything else, or through anything, including anything worn by the person doing the touching or by the person being touched, in circumstances where a reasonable person would consider the touching to be sexual.  When considering whether touching is sexual, the court will consider the area of the body touched, whether the person doing the touching did so for a sexual reason or any other aspect of the touching that may make it sexual. For further information on sexual touching, see our dedicated article.  Notably touching done for genuine medical or hygienic purposes is not considered sexual touching.

It is an offence for any person to intentionally:

  •    Sexually touch a child
  •    Incite a child to sexually touch the person
  •    Incite a child to sexually touch another person
  •    Incite another person to sexually touch a child

Where the victim of a sexual touching offence is under the age of 10, the maximum penalty for the offence is 16 years imprisonment, compared to 10 years, when the child is between 10 and 16.

Child Sexual Act Offences

The seriousness of child sex offences depends on both the age of the child and other circumstances of the offence.  Further information can be found in sections 66BC, 66DD, 66DE of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)).  A sexual act is an act that is carried out in circumstances where a reasonable person would consider the act to be sexual. When considering whether an act is sexual the court will consider the area of the body involved in the act, the reason the act was being performed and any other aspect of the act which may render it sexual in nature.

It is an offence for any person to intentionally:

  • carry out a sexual act with or towards a child
  • incite a child to carry out a sexual act with or towards the person
  • incitea child to carry out a sexual act with or towards another person
  • incite another person to carry out a sexual act with or towards a child
  • Where the victim of a sexual act offence is under the age of 10, the maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment.

Where the victim of a sexual act offence is between the ages of 10 and 16, the maximum penalty for the offence is 2 years imprisonment.  If the child between 10 and 16 and the offence is committed in circumstances of aggravation, the maximum penalty for the offence is 5 years imprisonment.  Some examples of circumstances of aggravation include:

  • where the alleged offender is in the company of another person or persons
  • where the alleged victim has a serious physical disability
  • where the alleged victim has a cognitive impairment
  • where the alleged offender deprives the alleged victim of their liberty for a period before or after the commission of the offence

The full range of circumstances of aggravation can be found in section 66DE(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Children – Procurement and grooming offences

There are child sex offences which relate to the procurement and grooming of children.  These are outlined in sections 66EB and 66EC of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Procuring children

It is an offence for an adult person to intentionally procure a child for unlawful sexual activity.  Where the child is under 14 years, the maximum penalty is 15 years imprisonment, while if they are older than 14, the maximum penalty is 12 years imprisonment.

Meeting children following grooming

In simple terms, it is an offence for an adult to meet a child, or travel with the intention of meeting a child, who has been groomed for sexual purposes and who has the intention of procuring that child for unlawful sexual activity.  Where the child is under the age of 14, the maximum penalty is 15 years imprisonment, while if they are older than 14, the maximum penalty for the offence is 12 years imprisonment.

Grooming Children

It is an offence for an adult to engage in conduct that exposes a child to indecent material, provides a child with an intoxicating substance or with any financial or material benefit, with the intention of making it easier to procure the child for unlawful sexual activity.  If the child is under 14, the maximum penalty for the offence is 12 years, while if they are over 14, the maximum penalty is 10 years.

Grooming a person for unlawful sexual activity with a child under the person’s authority

It is an offence to bribe another person who has authority over a child to make it easier to procure the child for unlawful sexual activity.  Where the child is under 14 the maximum penalty is 6 years imprisonment.  Where the child is older than 14 the maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment.

Why BSM Lawyers?

Our highly experienced criminal team understand that being charged with a sexual offence is understandably stressful and overwhelming. Our experienced lawyers have experience with handling sexual offence cases and have achieved excellent results.  Our criminal defence lawyers are very experienced and able to run most court matters without the added expense of a barrister. However, for serious criminal matters we have a panel of expert barristers who we frequently engage.

The lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight will fight tirelessly in your corner and vigorously defend your rights.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

Brander Smith McKnight has offices located in Sutherland, Sydney CBD, Parramatta and Wollongong.

FAQs

chevronWhat is the legal definition of sexual intercourse?

Section 61HA of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) defines sexual intercourse as “the penetration to any extent of the genitalia of a female person or the anus of any person by any part of the body of another person or any object manipulated by another person.”  Sexual intercourse also includes “the introduction of any part of the penis of a person into the mouth of another person, or cunnilingus”.

The penetration of a female’s genitalia or any person’s anus for proper medical purposes is excluded from the definition of sexual intercourse.

chevronWhat is cognitive impairment?

The commission of child sex offence may be aggravated where the victim is deemed to have a cognitive impairment.Section 61HD of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) explains that a person will be considered as having a “cognitive impairment” if the person has:

  • An intellectual disability
  • A developmental disorder
  • A neurological disorder
  • A severe mental illness
  • A brain injury

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

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