What to do if you have been accused of indecent assault
If you are contacted regarding any involvement with an incident of indecent assault, you should contact a specialist solicitor to ensure you fully understand your options and the legal proceedings involved.
Our team of sexual offence solicitors has the necessary experience and dedication to support you from beginning to end, dealing with the extra sensitivities and trauma that any case relating to sexual offences can cause.
Unique challenges handled by our specialist team
We understand that the consequences of sexual allegations go much deeper than concerns surrounding legal proceedings, with the prospect of being branded as a sex offender having the potential to impact the rest of your life. The impact of the stigma of being convicted for a sexual offence can be the most worrying thing, to both your own reputation and the reputation of those around you.
With this in mind every case our specialist indecent assault solicitors deal with is treated fairly and we build our specialist team around your specific requirements based on the evidence presented.
How does the law view indecent assault?
Indecent assault is defined as the crime of attacking someone in a way which involves non-consensual touching or sexual threat, without forcing them to have sexual intercourse. An indecent assault is an assault committed in circumstances of indecency. It must be proven that the accused acted intentionally, with full knowledge of the indecent circumstances.
Indecent assault is classified as an offence under sections 14 and 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956. Sexual assault under section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is a virtually identical offence.
A number of activities previously covered by the offence of ‘indecent assault’ now fall within the definitions of offences under the 2003 Act, including:
- Assault by penetration
- Child sex offences
- Subjecting vulnerable adults to a sexual assault
This means that the offence of sexual assault (section 3) will largely now be used in relation to lesser forms of sexual assault than previously.
There are many factors that may contribute to an indecent assault charge. Even the slightest physical contact can be deemed enough to prosecute if:
- The contact is in a sexual or indecent context
- The contact is proven to be more than a usual occurrence in everyday life
Common examples could include:
- An unwanted kiss
- Intentional touching – either under or over clothes – of an intimate area, such as the anus, penis, vagina or breasts
- A groin being rubbed against another person without consent on a bus or train, for example
It must not only be proven that the incident took place, but also that it was a reckless or deliberate act of indecent assault that occurred in the knowledge that the other person did not reasonably consent.
Further factors that will affect the severity of the case can include the age of the parties involved – especially if one or both is under the age of sexual consent – and also whether a position of trust has been abused, such as that of a doctor or teacher. Celebrity status can also be classified as a breach of trust in cases of indecent assault.
Whilst every case is treated differently and on its own unique set of circumstances, a prosecution for indecent assault can result in up to 10 years in prison.
For more information about indecent assault and associated sentences, or to discuss an individual assault case in complete confidence, please get in touch.
What is common assault in the UK?
Common assault in the UK is an offence that happens when:
- A person commits an act of battery (the intentional and reckless use of unlawful force against another)
- A person assaults another person
What is aggravated indecent assault?
Aggravated indecent assault makes the crime more severe, such as using a weapon, the existence of previous offences or drugging the victim. Physical domestic abuse can also become ‘aggravated’ over a sustained period of time.