What to do when charged with a sexual offence
There are several different types of sexual offences, ranging from indecent dealing, to sexual penetration. Each type of sexual offence can carry differing penalties, and can be heard in different courts.
The police want to speak to me about a sexual offence. Do I have to speak to them?
Please click here to read about your rights when speaking to and being questioned by police.
I have been charged with a sexual offence. How can a lawyer help?
We can advise you about the charge, the defences open to you, what sentence you may receive and the court procedures for pleas of guilty and pleas of not guilty.
Common types of sexual offences include:
- Sexual penetration without consent
- Sexual penetration of a child
- Indecent assault
- Indecent dealing with a child
- Possession of Child Exploitation Material
- Using electronic communication to expose a child to indecent matter.
If a child is involved, the child will likely have participated in a Child Witness Interview with specialist police officers. Your criminal lawyer can view this interview and obtain a copy of the transcript.
Most sexual offences will ordinarily result in imprisonment, so it is important to speak to a criminal lawyer about your sexual offence charge, and how best to defend it at trial, or how best to prepare for sentencing.
I had consensual sex with someone but the police have charged me. What can I do?
If you have been charged with sexual penetration without consent, but it is your position that it was a consensual act, you can plead not guilty to the charge and have a trial. Even if the other person has said they did not consent, you may still be able to rely on the defence of honest and reasonable belief, this means that you honestly and reasonably (but mistakenly) believed the other person was consenting.
You should speak to a criminal lawyer as soon as possible and get some advice about the charge and whether you can rely on this defence.
Will I be put on the Sex Offender Register? Will my details be made public?
If you are convicted of a child sex offence, you will be deemed a “reportable offender” which means your details will be on the register and you will have to report to the Sex Offender Management Squad for a number of years following your conviction.
You will need to check in with them regularly, and provide details on things such as your address, phone numbers, email addresses, login details for websites you use, travel plans and employment.
If you fail to report as required, you can be charged with breaching your reporting conditions.
Certain information about people on the register can be made available to members of the public. There are three types of information that can be provided. They are:
- The personal details and photographs of offenders who are missing or whose location is unknown
- A local search where people can access photos of dangerous or high-risk offenders in their suburb
- The parent of a child can make an inquiry about a specific person who has regular contact with their child.
What will happen in court?
Read more about what happens when going to court in WA.