Qamar Solicitors Indecent Assault and Sexual Assault
What is indecent assault?
Indecent assault and sexual assault are virtually identical sexual offences, and treated seriously by the courts. Even if the accused is acquitted of indecent assault or sexual assault charges, careers and relationships can be ruined beyond repair. If you are facing investigation for indecent assault or sexual assault, it is critical to get the best criminal defence solicitors on your side. The indecent assault lawyers at Qamar Solicitors will help you defend the charges with sensitivity and discretion.
What does the law say?
The law on indecent assault is governed by the Sexual Offences Act 1956 and covers a range of sexual assaults and unwanted touching. These indecent assault provisions in the 1956 Act have been replaced, and sexual assault is a virtually identical offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. However, the 1956 Act will still apply to allegations of indecent assault that took place before the 2003 Act came into force. (For our purposes, reference to indecent assault includes sexual assault). Indecent assault covers any unwanted activity with a sexual element involving the victim that does not involve penetration (including inciting sexual activity without consent involving penetration).
There are separate, more serious offences with which the offender will be charged if penetration was an element. Indecent assault can involve forcing or threatening the victim to take part in sexual activity against their will. It could also involve the offender touching the victim intimately without their consent, or it could involve the offender forcing the victim to watch sexual activity taking place (even if they were not made to participate). However, the prosecution must be able to show that a reasonable person would believe that the activity was indecent. So if you are charged with indecent assault, but you say it was not indecent – the jury could decide that a reasonable person would believe it was indecent, and you could be convicted. If there is any doubt on the part of the police and the CPS, they could also bring common assault charges in addition to indecent assault charges.
Relevant factors include the age of the offender in relation to the victim, the victim’s emotional maturity; the relationship between the parties (such as whether there was any duty of care or breach of trust); and whether the victim encouraged the offender in any way.
Indecent assault on a minor Indecent assault on a child under the age of 16 years is treated more seriously because the age of the victim is an aggravating factor. However, where the defendant honestly believes the victim was at least 16 years of old, they may be acquitted if the victim consented as a matter of fact. If the victim is otherwise vulnerable, for instance, they were unable to consent to the activity because of a mental health condition, or they had been drugged, or are elderly, this will be treated as an aggravating factor and reflected in a higher sentence.
What sentence is likely?
If you are convicted of indecent assault or sexual assault, you could face a maximum of 10 years in prison for the most serious cases. However, where the court believes you could be rehabilitated, a community order with a sex offender treatment programme under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 could be ordered instead of a custodial sentence. What should I do? If you have been accused of indecent assault or sexual assault, take urgent legal advice as soon as possible.
The expert indecent assault lawyers at Qamar Solicitors have successfully defended clients who have been accused of sex offences. We will help you defend the charges in order to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Contact us now at 01924 488 199