When you are accused of committing a sexual offence, it is a stressful time. However, the most important thing to do is to seek the advice of a legal team who can help you.
Read on for the answers to common questions that defence solicitors are asked about sexual offence cases in the UK.
What is classed as a sexual offence?
A sexual offence in the UK is classed as one of the most serious crimes. It involves crimes such as rape, molestation, sexual contact, upskirting and exploitation. It also includes the grooming of children or vulnerable adults. However, this is a very simplified list and it is not this clear cut in most cases.
If you have been accused of committing a sexual offence you will need the expertise of a sexual offence solicitor, who will know how to handle your case as well as defend you.
Accessing sexual offence representation does not indicate guilt. It can cut through the entire process quickly and will save you a lot of time and stress.
What are the main types of sexual offence in the UK?
In the UK, sexual offences are broken down into 6 key categories.
- Rape is when a person uses their penis to penetrate another person’s anus or vagina without their consent. Rape can also be committed if the person being assaulted cannot give consent, or is not able to legally understand the concept.
- Sexual assault is when a sexual act is inflicted on a person without their consent. This may involve touching, groping or kissing.
- Sexual exploitation occurs when a child or adult is exposed to sexual acts or pornography. It may also involve being subjected to prostitution.
- Sexual grooming is usually aimed at children or teenagers, but it can occur among adults too. It is the process of gaining their trust with the underlying motive of sexual assault.
- Historical sexual allegations may be made, for example, if a sexual act with a child or adult took place years ago.
- Child abuse and indecent images relates to the fact it is illegal to either possess indecent photographs of children or use a child for sexual acts.
What does consent mean legally?
Consent is a legal agreement to any sexual activity. If someone wants to engage in a sex act knowingly, this is consent. If they are drunk, intoxicated, or have a learning or mental health issue, they are deemed as vulnerable. Therefore, they cannot give consent to engaging in a sexual act.
What are the common defences against a sexual offence?
Common defences around sexual consent generally involve consent and whether or not the event happened, as it can be common for false sexual assault allegations to occur.
However, the defence used in any case will depend on the severity of the allegations being made.
Is a sexual offence allegation likely to go to court?
In the UK, it depends on the severity of the act as to whether or not it goes through the courts. Hence why it is so important to seek the appropriate legal defence as soon as possible. As if your case does go to court, it will be harder to defend if you did not seek legal representation early on. So, look for a legal team who can defend you and have expertise in sexual offence defence.