In 2021, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that between 2014 and 2019, the total number of victims of sexual assault recorded by police had increased by 30%.
Under Section 61I of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), sexual assault occurs when a person has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person, knowing that the other person does not consent. The definition of sexual intercourse is wide and includes penetration of a number of parts of the body by the person or any object manipulated by the person.
In addition to sexual assault, the Crimes Act also contains a number of other sexual offences including sexual touching and sexual act.
Previously, the Crimes Act included the offences of indecent assault and acts of indecency. These offences have since been repealed, however you can still be charged with them if the offence took place when these offences were still in the Crimes Act.
Sexual assault cases dealt with in the District Court
The offence of sexual assault, contrary to s. 61I Crimes Act, is dealt with in the District Court. The maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment. There is a standard non parole period of 7 years.
If the sexual assault occurs in circumstances of aggravation, the maximum penalty increases to 20 years imprisonment. The standard non parole period is 10 years.
Sexual assault cases dealt with in the Local Court
Sexual assault is a strictly indictable offence and must be dealt with in the District Court. However, the offences of sexual touching and sexual act are often dealt with in the Local Court.
Additionally, the repealed offences of indecent assault and act of indecency are often dealt with in the Local Court.
What to do if you are charged with sexual assault
If you have been charged with sexual assault, it is important to consider legal advice and/or representation because of the serious consequences of conviction. If you intend to plead not guilty, a lawyer can best present your case to a jury or judge. If you intend to plead guilty, a lawyer can help you to receive the most appropriate sentence.
Nyman Gibson Miralis provides expert advice and representation to people facing sexual assault and related charges.
Contact us if you require assistance.