Criminal Law

Sexual Assault

When it comes to offences that fall under the category of sexual assault NSW law relies on legislation, rather than the old common law notions. If you are charged with a form of sexual assault or are aware that allegations have been made in NSW, then it is important to speak to a Sexual Assault Lawyer Sydney or NSW based for assistance.

The Law

The concept of sexual assault (or rape) and its various forms, involve the following elements as set out in section 61I of the Crimes Act:
a)    Sexual intercourse
b)    Lack of consent
c)    Knowledge of the lack of consent

Unlike the old common law offence of “rape”, sexual intercourse is defined in section 61H of the Act as: 
(a) sexual connection occasioned by the penetration to any extent of the genitalia (including a surgically constructed vagina) of a female person or the anus of any person by:
(i) any part of the body of another person; or
(ii) any object manipulated by another person, except where the penetration is carried out for proper medical purposes; or
(b) sexual connection occasioned by the introduction of any part of the penis of a person into the mouth of another person; or
(c) cunnilingus.


The maximum penalty for the standard sexual assault NSW offence is a term of imprisonment for 14 years, with a standard non-parole period of 7 years.


For consent to be present, a person must freely and voluntarily agree to have sexual intercourse. However, it is not necessary for a victim to actively say “no” for there to be a lack of consent. An accused person can have knowledge of lack of consent if the accused person is reckless as to whether consent exists or if there aren’t any reasonable grounds to believe that there is consent. 

Legislative changes, such as the extension of the concept of consent (or lack thereof), mean that people must be cautious even in scenarios where it may appear that the other person is consenting, particularly, for example, when the other person has been consuming alcohol or drugs. For more detailed commentary on the concept of consent in sexual assault matters, read here.

If you or someone you know has been charged with sexual assault, 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.

Call today to speak with a Sexual Assault Lawyer Sydney, Parramatta, Chatswood, Sutherland or Wollongong.

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