Indecent Act – Options Your Defence Team Can Explore

by calvin_john on August 8, 2013

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(Australian/Victorian Criminal Law) An indecent assault is defined as an assault performed against another person under indecent circumstances. The term ‘indecent’ may refer to a wide range of acts, but it is often understood as a term with sexual connotations.

An indecent act with a child under the age of 16, on the other hand, is similar to an indecent assault, the main difference being that the act is performed against a minor. The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years of imprisonment. However, this penalty is usually given to cases that are at the extreme end of the spectrum.

In Victorian Law, there are five possible defences an accused can use. These are consent, factual dispute, honest and reasonable mistake of belief and proof that the accused is not older than two years than the complainant.


In plain terms, consent means that both parties freely agree to a sexual act. One of the elements the prosecution must establish in sexual offences is the absence of consent and that the accused was not aware of its absence. Absence of consent may apply to circumstances wherein the complainant was threatened with harm, or his or her judgement has been impaired by alcohol or drugs. But in an indecent assault against a minor charge, the accused must not only prove consent, but also prove that there is reason to believe that the complainant is over 16 years of age.

Factual Dispute

The defence team of an accused resorts to factual dispute when the prosecution cannot prove the facts and elements of the case within reasonable doubt.

Honest and reasonable mistake of belief

In this type of defence, the accused must prove that the act was done without a guilty mind. As such, he or she carries the burden of proof showing that the act was committed within the bounds of honest and reason. As a defence against an indecent act against a minor, the accused must establish that he or she believed that the complainant was over 16 years of age.

One final defence option used by a person charged with an indecent act is that the accused is not older than two years than the complainant.

If you are charged with a sexual offence like this, it is important to immediately seek legal counsel to help guide you through the legal process. This includes pleading guilty or otherwise. An experienced defence lawyer can discuss with you the best course of action to take to arrive at the best outcome.

About the author – Calvin John Mcphee is an educational consultant by profession who also spends his time researching and learning to broaden his knowledge about legal matters and shares them through writing. He believes that every individual should have access to knowing his right without actually going to law school. He is a follower of

Calvin John Mcphee is an educational consultant by profession and a blogger by passion.

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