Understanding Sexual Penetration Offences in Victoria
Crimes involving sexual penetration can lead to severe sentences, but defences can be raised
A number of separate offences in Victoria fall under the general heading of sexual assault. This article describes offences involving sexual penetration and the defences that can be raised by a person who is accused of committing those crimes.
Rape is the sexual penetration of another person without that person’s consent and:
- with the knowledge that the other person is not or might not be consenting, or
- without giving any thought to whether the other person is consenting, or
- without withdrawing after realizing that the person is not or might not be consenting.
- Compelling another person (by force or otherwise) to penetrate the accused or another person is also a rape.
The penalty for rape is imprisonment for not more than 25 years.
Potential defences to a rape include:
- The alleged victim consented.
- The accused believed the alleged victim consented.
- Penetration did not occur.
- The victim is mistaken about the rapist’s identity.
No rape occurred and the alleged victim is deliberately making a false accusation.
If you are accused of rape, you should ask a lawyer whether any of these defences can be raised in your case.
Sexual penetration of a child
Sexual penetration of a child differs from rape because consent is not a defence. The offence merely requires proof of sexual penetration. If the child did not consent, a charge of rape can be lodged.
Child of 16 or 17
If the accusation involves a child of 16 or 17, the crime can only be committed by someone who is not the child’s spouse and who has a position of supervision or authority over the child, including a foster parent, a teacher, a coach, a doctor, and others with a similar responsibility for the child’s care. The penalty for the offence is imprisonment for not more than 10 years.
Child under the age of 16
If a child is under the age of 16 and not married to the accused, any sexual penetration of the child is a crime. The maximum sentence for the offence is:
- 25 years if the child was under the age of 10;
- 15 years if the child was at least age 10 but under the age of 16, if the accused had a position of supervision or authority regarding the child;
10 years in all other cases.
Potential defences to sexual penetration of a child include:
A reasonable belief that the child is 18 (if the child is 16 or 17).
A reasonable belief that the child is 18 (if the child is 15 or younger and the accused is not more than 2 years older than the child).
- Penetration did not occur.
- Mistaken identity.
- The child is deliberately making a false accusation.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.
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