Sexual Offences Against Children

Sexual penetration with a child under 16 carries different maximum penalties depending the circumstances of the offence.

In December 2008, the then Attorney-General asked the Sentencing Advisory Council to advise on the adequacy of the current maximum penalties that apply to the different circumstances in which the offence of sexual penetration with a child under the age of 16 may be committed.

Section 45 of the Crimes Act 1958 provides that the following penalties apply depending on the age of the victim and, in certain circumstances, the relationship between the victim and the offender:

  • when the victim of this offence is aged under 10 at the time of the offence – maximum of 25 years’ imprisonment
  • when the victim is aged between 10 and under 16 and is under the care, supervision or authority of the accused – maximum 15 years’ imprisonment
  • when the victim is (otherwise) aged between 10 and under 16 – maximum 10 years’ imprisonment.

The Council released a Consultation Paper and its Sentencing for Sexual Penetration Offences: A Statistical Report in March 2009. The Maximum Penalties for Sexual Penetration with a Child under 16 Report was released in September 2009.