Choose a Sexual Assault Lawyer Who Will Fight For Your Rights

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 wilful consent? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need strong legal representation.

Since 2008, Russo Lawyers has provided clients throughout Australia with expert legal defence services. With over 45 years of combined practice experience, our team of expert lawyers specialises in criminal law and many branches therein, including sexual offences. If you’ve been charged with any such crime and are looking for guidance, Russo 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 and facing the ramifications of a conviction, the burden of proof is upon the accuser, or alleged victim. The charge must also align with the legal definition as stipulated by the Australian government. Although there are slight variations in the meaning and interpretations of “consent” and “sexual assault” between states and territories — among other violent offence charges — the following 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 doesn’t have to be exclusive to the genitals (i.e., sexual intercourse): 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 willful 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, established in the Crimes Act, Criminal Code Act or Criminal Law Consolidation Act. 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
Sexual harassment is defined as any unwanted sexual advance, 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. It’s possible for an offence to be considered both sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Indecent assault
According to the Criminal Code Act Queensland section 352, indecent assault may be charged if the abuse claim: (1) involves a deliberate action, (2) the action was indecent and (3) was or was not of a sexual nature. The term “indecent” refers to an action deemed out of step with societal norms of behaviour. As with sexual harassment and sexual assault, it is possible for an offence to be both indecent assault and sexual assault. A charge of Indecent assault also implies there was no consent.

What are the penalties for sexual assault matters and other types of sex offence?
As a citizen of Australia, you are entitled to the presumption of innocence, and the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the assault or offence of which you’ve been accused. But if you are convicted, imprisonment for various lengths of time is probable. You may also be sued in civil court, which could lead to judgements ordering you to pay massive sums in damages.

What are the prison sentences for sex crimes?
The following are the maximum penalties for common assault, sexual assault and other matters that can fall under the umbrella of sexual offences, according to the government of Queensland:

  • Common assault – The maximum penalty for common assault is three years in prison.

  • Sexual assault – The maximum penalty for sexual assault is 10 years in prison.

  • Rape – The maximum penalty for rape in Queensland 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 and assault, carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment, or seven years if the offence involves violent threats.  

  • Indecent assault – The maximum penalty for indecent assault also varies in accordance with the severity of the offence. For example, assault of a sexual or physical nature may carry a stiffer penalty than those that are threatening but not physical. 

As a citizen of Australia, you deserve a vigorous defence; Russo Lawyers will provide you with the representation that is fit for your situation. 

As a citizen of Australia, you deserve a vigorous defence regardless of the crimes for which you’ve been accused. Russo Lawyers will provide you with representation befitting the specifics of your situation, and work painstakingly to assure your rights are not infringed upon before, during and after your trial. Child sexual abuse, rape and all forms of sexual assault are considered among the most heinous crimes; they can sully your reputation even if there isn’t a conviction. The team at Russo Lawyers will do everything in our power to clear your good name if you’ve been wrongly accused. For more information on our services or a free initial consultation, contact us.