What is Indecent Assault?
Indecent Assault is a particularly serious offence that often carries the risk of imprisonment upon conviction. For that reason alone, you should seek immediate advice from one of our accredited specialists in criminal law.
The offence of indecent assault involves an act of indecency occurring at the time of the assault. It is not as serious as a sexual assault but is still considered serious. It has sexual overtones because of the nature of the indecent act. The offence does not include penetration.
Often the allegation will involve inappropriate touching or fondling of breasts, buttocks or genitalia without the consent of the person touched. Certain offences are aggravated, such as the inappropriate touching of a child – where consent has no part to play.
In certain circumstances, the offence can be dealt with in the Local Court. However, sometimes the factual allegations are so serious that the matter ends up in the District Court where the penalties are much more significant.
There are inherent problems with indecent assault prosecutions unless a person is caught in the act or makes an admission. By the very nature of the offence, it is mostly committed without independent witnesses. There is frequently a delay in the complaint being made due to the age of the alleged victim or due to embarrassment or a lack of recognition that what occurred was ‘wrong’.
We have dealt with a number of defended matters over the years where false complaints have been made for a variety of reasons. Such reasons include perceived rudeness by the adult to the child (resulting in an allegation of indecent assault by touching externally on the vaginal area); an accusation against the new boyfriend of a single mother by her child because the child saw the new boyfriend as a threat to her quality time with her mother (allegation of masturbating over the child); an accusation of groping and fondling where the teenager’s immature advances to the adult male were rejected – just to pay him back!
There is no denying that indecent assaults occur and some clients seek our assistance making full admissions, wanting our expert assistance in helping them with the sentencing process. This can include gaining access to pre-trial diversion courses, counseling, pre-sentence reports and character material.