Indecent assault- Statutory Offence : CRIMES ACT 1958 (Repealed s39)


(NOTE - The Crimes Act 1958 was ammended, and the charge of indecent assault was repealed and replaced with the charge of sexual assault. As such, the following information is only relevant for historical matters that occurred prior to July 2015.

Elements Prosecution Must Prove

1. Accused assaulted another intentionally.
The accused did so in indecent circumstances.
The accused was aware that the person assaulted was not consenting or might not be consenting.

What is intentional?

Must be demonstrated by prosecution that there is an intention to assault. Not necessary to demonstrate that there was an intent to assault in indecent circumstances.

What is indecent circumstances?

Indecent circumstances must have a sexual connotation. In an unreported judgment discussed in Sabet v The Queen [2011] VSCA 124,  Justice Nettle held that "Even where an assault is not such as unequivocally to offer a sexual connotation, it may still constitute an indecent assault if accompanied by an intention on the part of the assailant thereby to obtain sexual gratification."


The prosecution must demonstrate a lack of consent of the victim, and that the accused was aware that the victim was not consenting.


Indecent assault carries a maximum period of 10 years imprisonment, but often results in a community corrections order. In some circumstances, particularly where there are multiple counts of indecent assault, there can be implications that result in an accused being placed on the sex offenders register.


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