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Rape and sexual assault lawyers

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The sexual assault lawyers Melbourne trusts

If you've been charged with rape or another sexual offence, you should seek expert legal advice as soon as possible. Sex offences are considered very serious in Victoria and if you are found guilty of your alleged crime, it can have a significant impact on the rest of your life.

With years of experience in defending a diverse range of clients accused of sexual assaults and other sex charges, our criminal lawyer team will be able to deliver the best results. Taking a non-judgmental approach, we believe that every person has the right to a strong criminal defence and will ensure that your side of the story is always considered.

Are you suspected of or charged with a sexual offence? Call 03 8590 8370 to speak with one of our expert criminal lawyers now for quality legal advice and representation.

What are sexual assault offences?

There are several sexual offences you can be charged with, including:

  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual assault by compelling sexual touching
  • Assault with intent to commit a sexual offence
  • Compelling sexual penetration
  • Procuring a sexual act by threat or fraud
  • Indecent assault
  • Incest
  • Bestiality
  • Sexual servitude
  • Indecent act in the presence of a child under 16
  • Persistent sexual abuse of a child under 16
  • Sexual penetration of a child under 16
  • Sexual penetration of a 16 or 17-year-old child
  • Possession of child abuse material
  • Production of child pornography
  • Sexual offences against people with cognitive impairment
  • Abduction or detention for a sexual purpose
  • Administration of drugs for a sexual purpose
  • Threat to commit a sexual offence
  • Threat to distribute an intimate image
  • Distribution of an intimate image
  • Failing to comply with Sex Offender Registry reporting regulations
  • Providing false or misleading information (Sex Offender Registry)
  • Loitering near schools by a sexual offender

More detailed information regarding these and other sexual offences can be found in the Crimes Act 1958.

The police interview

If you have been asked to come in for a police interview in response to sexual assault allegations or have been brought in by police, you should obtain legal advice from a sexual assault lawyer. This is because the police interview will serve as an important piece of evidence for the prosecution and determine whether the matter proceeds.

In Victoria, you have the right to communicate with a criminal law expert or make an attempt to communicate (i.e., make a phone call). You are also not required to say anything during the interview – sometimes, for criminal law cases, this is in your best interest.

What is the penalty for sexual offences?

Crimes of a sexual nature incur serious consequences, with the maximum penalty being between 5 and 25 years imprisonment.

If you are found guilty of a sexual offence, you may be sentenced with:

  • Fines
  • A charge on your criminal record
  • Prison time

Where will my case be heard?

In certain circumstances, your case may be entirely handled by the Magistrates Court. However, as sexual offending cases are taken quite seriously, your case will most likely be heard in County Court.

Prior to your trial, you will first attend a committal hearing at the Magistrates Court to decide whether there is enough evidence that you have committed the offence.

What criminal defence do I have?

There are a few common defences for sexual offences:

  • That no sexual activity actually occurred
  • That sexual contact did occur but was consensual
  • That you had a reasonable belief consent was given

To determine whether or not you had a reasonable belief, the Court will assess your situation “in the light of generally accepted community standards and attitudes”. Consent cannot be given if the other person:

  • Is asleep or unconscious
  • Is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol
  • Fears for themselves or someone else
  • Is subjected to force
  • Is unlawfully detained
  • Is incapable of understanding the sex act
  • Is mistaken about the sexual nature of the act or the identity of the person(s) involved
  • Is aged 12 or under

Your criminal lawyer will be able to give you a better idea of your options during your consultation.

Should I plead guilty?

Depending on the charges and the prosecution's case, pleading guilty can help to avoid a costly and lengthy trial. In some cases, this may allow us to negotiate a lighter sentence.

How you choose to plead is completely up to you. We are always upfront about your situation to ensure that you are fully aware and can make the best choice for your future. We will explore every legal option available to you to get the best outcome possible.

Contact us

If you are accused of criminal offences – sexual or otherwise – you should seek legal advice immediately.

Get in touch with our criminal lawyers in Melbourne today by calling 03 8590 8370 or using our online contact form here.

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