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Acts of Indecency in the Australian Capital Territory

Updated on Jan 05, 2023 4 min read 315 views Copy Link

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Published in Jan 05, 2023 Updated on Jan 05, 2023 4 min read 315 views

Acts of Indecency in the Australian Capital Territory

In the Australian Capital Territory, there are six criminal offences involving acts of indecency. These offences are contained in the Crimes Act 1900. This page outlines each of those offences, the maximum penalties that apply and what to expect if you are charged with an act of indecency in the ACT.

What is an act of indecency?

There is no definition of the term ‘act of indecency’ in the Crimes Act 1900. Under the common law, indecent acts are acts that are contrary to community standards of decency or that would offend ‘the ordinary modesty of the average person’.

Act of indecency in the first degree

Under section 57 of the Crimes Act 1900, an act of indecency in the first degree occurs when a person inflicts grievous bodily harm on another person with intent to commit an act of indecency on them or on another person who is nearby.

Act of indecency in the second degree

Under section 58 of the Crimes Act 1900, an act of indecency in the second degree happens when a person inflicts actual bodily harm on another person with intent to commit an act of indecency on the person or on another person who is nearby.

Act of indecency in the third degree

Under section 59 of the Crimes Act 1900, an act of indecency in the third degree consists of a person assaulting or threatening to do grievous bodily harm to someone with intent to commit an act of indecency on them or on someone else who is nearby.

Under section 60 of the Crimes Act 1900, an act of indecency without consent occurs when a person commits an act of indecency on another person without that person’s consent.

Act of indecency with a young person

Under section 61 of the Crimes Act 1900, an act of indecency with a young person occurs when a person commits an act of indecency on or in the presence of a child. Different maximum penalties apply to this offence depending on whether the child is under 10 or between 10 and 16.  

Aggravated offences

Any of the above offences is aggravated if it is committed in the context of family violence. Higher maximum penalties apply for the aggravated version of each offence.

Penalties for acts of indecency

Different maximum penalties apply to each of the offences outlined above.

They are set out in the table below.

OffenceMaximum penaltyMaximum penalty where offence is aggravated
Act of indecency in the first degree15 years imprisonment19 years imprisonment
Act of indecency in the second degree12 years imprisonment15 years imprisonment
Act of indecency in the third degree10 years imprisonment 13 years imprisonment
Act of indecency without consentSeven years imprisonmentNine years imprisonment
Act of indecency without consent in company with another person Nine years imprisonment11 years imprisonment
Act of indecency with a young person under 1012 years imprisonment15 years imprisonment
Act of indecency with a young person under 1610 years imprisonment13 years imprisonment

Jurisdiction for acts of indecency

Offences relating to acts of indecency are indictable and are finalised in the ACT Supreme Court.

Have you been charged with an act of indecency?

If you have been charged with an act of indecency, Go To Court Lawyers will provide you with thorough, timely legal advice. They will talk you through the elements of the offence and identify any legal defences that apply. Our solicitors will advise you on the likely penalty range for someone in your circumstances and make sure you understand all aspects of the criminal process before deciding whether to plead guilty of not guilty.

Applying for bail on an act of indecency charge

If you have been remanded in custody for an act of indecency in the Australian Capital Territory, Go To Court Lawyers can help you to apply for bail.

Bail applications in the ACT are governed by the Bail Act 1992.  The court will decide whether to grant you bail after weighing your interests with the interests of the community.

If you are an adult, the decision as to whether to release you on bail will be made based on the criteria in section 22 of the Bail Act 1992.

If you are under 18, the court will decide whether to grant you bail based on the criteria set out in section 23 of the Bail Act 1992

If you require legal advice or representation in any criminal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

Published in

Jan 05, 2023

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.

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