Criminal Law

Aggravated Indecent Assault

An assault that has the additional element of the offender committing an act of indecency upon or in the presence of the victim is referred to as indecent assault.

Pursuant to section 61L of the Crimes Act 1900, an indecent assault involves the assault of a person and, at the time of or immediately before or after the assault, a person committing an act of indecency on or in the presence of the person they assaulted. 

In order to be an indecent assault, the assault must have a sexual connotation. The sexual connotation may derive directly from the area of the body of the girl to which the assault is directed, or it may arise because the assailant uses the area of his body which would give rise to a sexual connotation in the carrying out of the assaults (Harkin (1989)).

The term "aggravation" in criminal law denotes a more serious version of the particular offence and of course, an aggravated indecent assault is a more serious version of the offence.

The Law

Pursuant to section 61M of the Crimes Act (NSW) a person has committed the offence of aggravated indecent assault where an indecent assault has been committed and the victim is under the age of 16 or, the indecent assault has been committed in "circumstances of aggravation".
"Circumstances of aggravation" means circumstances in which:
(a) the alleged offender is in the company of another person or persons, or
(b) the alleged victim is (whether generally or at the time of the commission of the offence) under the authority of the alleged offender, or
(c) the alleged victim has a serious physical disability, or
(d) the alleged victim has a cognitive impairment.


The maximum penalty for the offence where it is committed in "circumstances of aggravation" is 7 years' imprisonment. If the victim of the indecent assault is under the age of 16 (whether or not any other circumstances of aggravation exist) the maximum penalty for the offence is 10 years' imprisonment.  

If you have been charged with aggravated indecent assault, and require legal assistance, our experts at Prime Lawyers - Criminal Law Division can help. Contact us to make an appointment with a criminal lawyer at your nearest Prime Lawyers office.

We have offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Chatswood, Sutherland and Wollongong.    

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