Indecent Assault

The offence of indecent assault is outlined under section 61L of the Crimes Act 1900 as follows

Any person who assaults another person and, at the time of, or immediately before or after, the assault, commits an act of indecency on or in the presence of the other person, is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

In laying a charge of indecent assault, the police must prove each of the following essential elements beyond reasonable doubt.

  1. that the accused assaulted the complainant, and
  2. that the assault was indecent, and
  3. that the assault was without the consent of the complainant, and
  4. that the accused knew that the complainant was not consenting, or he/she realised that there was a possibility that the complainant was not consenting but he/she went ahead anyway, or he/she did not even think about whether the complainant was consenting or not — in other words, he/she did not care whether the complainant was consenting.

Actions that might constitute an indecent assault include:

  • The slightest touch / physical contact (however minimal) is sufficient to amount to an assault. This excludes touching in the course of ordinary everyday life.
  • The intentional touching, even over clothes, of breasts, anus, vagina or penis.
  • A kiss, when it has been made clear the kiss is unwanted.
  • Intentionally rubbing your groin against another, example; on a busy train when the other person has not given consent.

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