You need an expert team who can assess your legal options and mount a proper defence.

Have you been accused of sexual assault and are now facing charges? Were you arrested for indecent assault, but are unclear of what that term means? Have you engaged in sexual intercourse with an accuser who claims they were a victim of rape, but you contend you had their consent? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need strong legal representation.

Beavon Lawyers provides clients throughout Australia with expert legal defence services. Our team of expert lawyers specialises in criminal law including sexual offences. If you have been charged with any such crime, Beavon Lawyers is the team to call.

What are the legal definitions of sexual assault and other sexual offences?

For anyone charged with a sex offence, the burden of proof is upon the accuser, or alleged victim. The charge must also align with the legal definition and various elements of the offence in question. Although there are variations in the meaning and interpretations of "consent" and "sexual assault" between the States and Territories, the following information describes what each offence means in accordance with Australian criminal law.

Sexual assault
Sexual assault is defined as any unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature. Although it traditionally involves actual physical touching or kissing, an action may also be considered sexual assault if it involves exposing one's genitals to another without consent.  

Rape is defined as the physical penetration into the genitals or other bodily orifice of another individual, carried out without their consent. Such penetration does not have to be exclusive to the genitals. For instance, digital penetration of a victim who did not consent may also be considered rape, and the term can apply to situations in which the victim is forced or intimidated into performing oral sex.

For a conviction to be attained, the prosecution's primary burden of proof involves consent. Yet if the alleged victim did not verbally withhold consent but was unaware (i.e. unconscious or not in control of their mental faculties) of the penetration, that also qualifies as rape.

In the context of sexual behaviour, consent entails the wilful approval of a sexual act done to one person by another without any sort of intimidation, violence, or threat. Establishing consent also involves age. For example, an individual may be convicted of a sexual offence even if the recipient approved of the action but has not reached the age of consent. Each jurisdiction of Australia has its own definitions of consent. Generally speaking, the age of consent is 16 or 17 years of age. In Queensland, it is 16 years old. Actions involving persons under the age of consent in a given jurisdiction may be considered child sexual abuse.

Sexual harassment
While not an offence in its own right in Queensland, sexual harassment refers to conduct that may form part of many other offences. Sexual harassment may include unwanted sexual advances, behaviour, or misconduct that is offensive or considered intimidating to the recipient. A request for sexual favours may be considered sexual harassment, as are off-colour sexual jokes.

What are the penalties for sexual assault matters and other types of sex offences?
You are entitled to the presumption of innocence, and the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the offence of which you have been accused. But if you are convicted, imprisonment for various lengths of time is possible.

As per the Criminal Code1899 (Qld), the following are the maximum penalties for common assault, sexual assault and other matters that can fall under the umbrella of sexual offences in Queensland:

●       Common assault - The maximum penalty for common assault is 3 years imprisonment.

●       Sexual assault - The maximum penalty for sexual assault is 10 years imprisonment.

●       Rape - The maximum penalty for rape is life imprisonment.

●       Sexual harassment -Sexual harassment has the broadest of definitions among sex offence charges, and the penalties can be wide-ranging. Ultimately, they depend on the type and severity of the offence. Stalking, which may be considered a form of sexual harassment, carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment, or 7 years if the offence involves violent threats.  

●       Indecent assaults -The maximum penalty for acts deemed to be indecent assaults also varies in accordance with the severity of the offence in question. For example, assault of a sexual or physical nature may carry a stiffer penalty than those that are threatening but not physical.

If you have been charged with any offence, you deserve vigorous legal defence from a team that is determined to win. Beavon Lawyers will provide you with the representation that will aggressively defend your rights in court, and deliver you the best out come possible.

The team at Beavon Lawyers will do everything in our power to clear your name if you have been wrongly accused. For more information on our services, and a free initial consultation, contact us today.