What is an historic offence?
A historic offence is generally held to be an offence alleged to have occurred many years ago, sometimes when different laws applied to the offences. Offences include sexual assault, rape, sex trafficking, child sexual abuse and child pornography, to name a few.
When passing sentencing for historic offences, judges must consider the laws in place when the alleged incident took place. There were major changes to sexual offence laws when the Sexual Offences Act 2003 came into effect, replacing legislation that had been in place since 1956. Yet since the historic law still applies to historic offences, your solicitors must be familiar with it.
Why is it crucial to have a historic sexual abuse defence solicitor?
If you are facing a police investigation or criminal proceedings in court, you need an expert team supporting you, advising and defending you, especially if you have been accused of a historic sex crime.
Historic sex crimes can be highly sensitive and emotionally charged, and Lawtons Solicitors provide level-headed, clear guidance. There can also be evidential issues, where it is the complainant’s word against yours, so you will need an expert team of specialist solicitors to fight your case.
There is a lot of focus by the authorities on historic cases due to some high-profile examples in recent times. The police and prosecution also have specialist teams tasked with these types of offences.
With a thorough approach to preparation, ensuring a coherent trial strategy, we keep you informed at all times and offer non-judgmental, professional legal representation to ensure the most favourable outcome for you.
The aim of our sex crime lawyers is to work with you to avoid any possibility of uncertainty, address any disclosure issues head-on, and examine and analyse all evidence continuously to ensure you are best placed to receive a favourable outcome.
How does the law treat historic sex crimes?
When it comes to historic sex crimes, cases are carefully treated based on the evidence provided. Judgement may not be influenced by high-profile personalities or other such factors.
Any sentencing is given as per the current guidelines for assessing harm to the victim and the seriousness of the crime committed. Inclusion on the Sex Offenders Register is not necessarily dependent on this assessment.
How are historical sexual offences investigated?
Historical sexual assault, historical sexual abuse and similar offences are never straightforward for those investigating them.
Due to the alleged crime being committed many years ago, physical evidence is unlikely to exist. As a result, most cases start with a verbal statement or accusation.
From there, investigators may search your home, or examine school or local authority files, to find evidence to support or disprove the allegations. You’ll also be interviewed by the police, when you’ll need the assistance of specialist historic sex abuse solicitors like Lawtons.
What are the penalties for historical sexual abuse charges?
Any sentencing is given as per the current guidelines for assessing harm to the victim and the seriousness of the crime committed. Inclusion on the Sex Offenders Register is not dependent on this assessment.
Under the Sexual Offences Act 1956, these are the maximum possible sentences for the following crimes:
Rape – life imprisonment
Indecent assault on a woman – 10 years’ imprisonment (although sentencing guidelines changed in the following years)
Indecent assault on a man – 10 years’ imprisonment
Sexual intercourse with a girl under 13 – life imprisonment
Sentences for some offences vary, such as taking indecent images of a child, which carries a term of 3 or 10 years in prison, depending on whether the offence occurred before or after 11 January 2001.
The complexities of such cases are why you need the help of historical abuse solicitors. They can help to guide you through the process and minimise the sentence you receive.
What factors impact the sentencing of historic offences?
Other factors that may be taken into account, depending on the circumstances, include:
- Age of the victim, if they were under the age of sexual consent at the time the event occurred.
- Age of the accused, if they are deemed very ill or frail at time of sentencing.
- If a position of trust or status is cited as an influencing factor in the case at the time it occurred.
- How serious the allegation is and whether it is said to have occurred over a period of time or on just one occasion.
What to do if you are accused of a historic sex crime
It is important to seek legal representation right from the start of a case, to receive the best advice at all stages and show willingness to cooperate. Contact a specialist sex crime lawyer as soon as possible.
Lawtons Solicitors is best placed to deliver a professional and experienced team that understands the challenges involved in dealing with a case relating to historic sex crimes.
We are on your side
FAQs about Historic Sex Crime
What does ‘historic sexual offences’ mean?
Why are there evidential issues when defending allegations of historic sexual offences?
What if the accused is now at an elderly age?
Our Historic Sexual Offences Solicitors