Sexual assault of children under 13
Sexual assault of children under 13

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Sexual assault of children under 13
  • The 'old' law and the 'new' law
  • Consent
  • Offences that span the changeover from the 'old' to 'new' law
  • Indictments spanning 'old' and 'new' law
  • Elements of the offence—sexual assault of a child under 13 years old
  • Elements of the offence—sexual assault of a child under 13 by penetration
  • Elements of the offence of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity
  • Penetration
  • Sexual Touching
  • More...

The child sex offences are principally set out at sections 5–8 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (SOA 2003). These are:

  1. sexual assault of a child under 13 years old (SOA 2003, s 7)

  2. sexual assault of a child under 13 years old by penetration (SOA 2003, s 6)

  3. rape of a child under 13 (SOA 2003, s 5), and

  4. causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity (SOA 2003, s 8)

These are discussed in detail below.

The 'old' law and the 'new' law

The old law is in three periods depending when offences were committed:

  1. 1 January 1957 to 21 December 1976 fall under section 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 (SOA 1956). Consolidated statutes, amended by Sexual Offenses Act 1967, in relation to homosexual acts

  2. 22 December 1976 to 2 November 1994 fall under section 1 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1976, and

  3. 3 November 1994 to 30 April 2004 fall under the SOA 1956, s 1 (as amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994).

See Practice Note: Sexual assault.

The new law:

  1. offences committed from 1 May 2004 onwards fall under section 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (SOA 2003)

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has issued guidelines on Prosecuting Cases of Child Sexual Abuse for the investigation and prosecution of offences

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