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Sexual Assault in New South Wales

Updated on Jan 06, 2023 4 min read 342 views Copy Link

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Published in Jan 06, 2023 Updated on Jan 06, 2023 4 min read 342 views

Sexual Assault in New South Wales

In New South Wales, there is a range of sexual offences contained in the Crimes Act 1900. These include sexual assault, sexual touching and assault with intent to have sexual intercourse. This page explains how sexual assault in New South Wales is defined, the penalties it attracts and the court processes for finalizing a charge.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault used to be known as rape in new South Wales. The common law offence of rape was abolished in 1981 and replaced with the sexual assault offences that are contained in sections 61I, 61J and 61JA of the Crimes Act 1900.

The changes were intended to reduce the stigma associated with reporting such an offence. They also recognized the different types of sexual assaults that can occur and made the different offences punishable with different maximum penalties.

The offence of sexual assault in NSW

The offence of sexual assault is set out in section 61I of the Crimes Act 1900. It occurs when a person has sexual intercourse with another person without the other person’s consent knowing that they do not consent.

This offence carries a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment.

The offence of aggravated sexual assault in NSW

The offence of aggravated sexual assault is set out in section 61J of the Crimes Act 1900. An aggravated offence has a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.

An offence is aggravated if:

  • The offender inflicts actual bodily harm on the victim or on another person who is nearby (or threatens to do so)
  • The offender threatens to wound or inflict grievous bodily harm on the victim or on another person who is nearby
  • The victim is under 16
  • The offender is in company with one or more other persons
  • The victim is under the authority of the offender
  • The victim has a serious physical disability or a cognitive impairment
  • The offender breaks into a building with the intention of committing the offence
  • The offender deprived the victim of their liberty for a period after the offence.

The offence of aggravated sexual assault in company in NSW

The offence of aggravated sexual assault in company is set out in section 61JA of the Crimes Act 1900. This offence carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life.

This offence occurs when a person sexually assaults another person in company with one or more people and:

  • Inflicts actual bodily harm on the victim or another person who is nearby; or
  • Threatens to inflict actual bodily harm on the victim or another person who is nearby using a weapon; or
  • Deprives the victim of their liberty for a period after the offence.

Jurisdiction for sexual assault offences in NSW

Sexual assault offences are finalized in the New South Wales District Court.  However, all criminal matters start in the Local Court. A matter will be transferred to the District Court after a number of preliminary mentions if there is sufficient evidence to support the charge.

Should I plead guilty or not guilty?

If you have been charged with sexual assault in New South Wales, you should seek specialist legal advice immediately. A Go To Court NSW criminal lawyer will given you thorough and timely advice on:

  • The strength of the case against you
  • Any available defences
  • The likely penalty range if you are found guilty
  • The criminal process and how long the matter is likely to take to resolve

Applying for bail on a sexual assault charge in NSW

If you have been remanded in New South Wales on a charge of sexual assault, you may want to apply for bail. Go To Court Lawyers can help you to do so. Decisions about bail in New South Wales are made under the Bail Act 2013. The court will decide whether to grant you bail based on whether there is an unacceptable risk that you will:

  • Fail to come to court
  • Commit a serious offence
  • Endanger persons
  • Interfere with witnesses or evidence.

If you are charged with a sexual assault offence that carries life imprisonment, or where the alleged victim is under 16, or if you are alleged to have sexually assaulted someone while on bail, parole or on a supervised order, you will be required to ‘show cause’ why you should not be kept in custody. This means you will have to overcome a presumption that you should not be granted bail.

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

Published in

Jan 06, 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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