Criminal Law

Sexual Offences

Sexual offences in Queensland

Sexual offences are treated seriously in QLD and cover a wide range of criminal conduct. Most offenses are against adults involving sexual acts without consent. This post aims to highlight the differences and the penalties that come with these charges in QLD.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is when unlawful or indecent assault occurs towards another person. Sexual assault can be quite broad; it might be the verbal sexualised speech towards another person; however, it could include the physical act of assault such as non-consensual touching of a person’s genitals, buttocks, thighs or breasts. Sexual assault also includes the extreme penetrative sexual acts such as rape.

The maximum penalty if someone is found guilty of sexual assault is 10 years imprisonment.

This sexual offense is quickly escalated if the offender is armed with a weapon or in the company of a co-offender. This is known as aggravated sexual assault and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

What is rape?

Rape is the most serious sexual offence crimes in QLD and carries some significant penalties, including a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Rape is the penetration with or of another person without that person’s consent. It includes the penetration of the vulva, vagina or anus of another person, as well as oral sex. 

What is consent?

Consent is a mutual agreement between multiple parties to have sex freely and voluntarily. What is important to highlight is that just because someone has consented in the past, does not means they will always consent. Consent is required to be given every time and they need to have the cognitive capacity to give consent. This means they cannot be under the age of 16, have a mental or intellectual disability or be unconscious or asleep. Furthermore, consent must not be obtained by force, threat or fear.

Consent is also not granted if the victim is under the false representation of the nature or purpose of the actions or is led to believe they are with their own sexual partner.

What must be proved to be charged?

To be charged with sexual assault, the prosecution must prove:

  • You had sexual contact with another person;
  • The person did not consent; and
  • You knew the person did not consent, or was unable to consent.

Most sexual assault with be heard by the Magistrates Court; however, rape will be dealt with by the District Court because of the seriousness of the offense.

For more information on sexual offences in QLD

If you have a question about sexual assault that we have not covered in this blog, please get in touch with one of our qualified lawyers for more information and advice.

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