7.3.3A - Assault with intent to commit a sexual offence (From 1/7/15)

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This topic relates to assaults with intent to commit a sexual offence committed on or after 1 July 2015. Before that date, the equivalent offence only applied to assaults with intent to commit rape. See Assault with Intent to Rape (Pre-1/7/15)

  1. Crimes Act 1958 s 42 creates the offence of assault with intent to commit a sexual offence. The offence has four elements which the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt. These are:

    i) The accused intentionally applied force to another person;

    ii) The other person did not consent to that application of force;

    iii) At the time of applying force, the accused intended that the other person take part in a sexual act;

    iv) The accused did not reasonably believe that the other person would consent to taking part in that sexual act.

  2. This is a hybrid offence, which draws on elements of assault and sexual offences.
  3. Section 42 provides that force may be applied directly or indirectly, or to the body, clothing or equipment worn by the other person (Crimes Act 1958 s 42(4)).
  4. Application of force includes application of heat, light, electric current or other forms of energy, or the application of solid, liquid or gaseous matter (Crimes Act 1958 s 42(5)).
  5. A person takes part in a sexual act if the person:

    i) is sexually penetrated or sexually touched by another person or by an animal; or

    ii) sexually penetrates or sexually touches another person, themselves or an animal (Crimes Act 1958 s 35C).

  6. Sexual penetration is defined in s 35A, and is discussed in 7.3.2 – Rape (From 1/1/92). Sexual touching is defined in s 35B and is discussed in 7.3.5 – Sexual Assault (From 1/7/15).
  7. This offence replaced the offence of assault with intent to rape. Under the previous offence, it was recognised that the offence prohibited conduct that was more remote than a charge of attempted rape (see R v Worland [1964] VR 607).
  8. It was also established in relation to the previous offence that the criminality came from the assault and the intent to commit rape and it did not matter if the intended rape was factually impossible (R v Cogley [1989] VR 799, 807).

Last updated: 26 April 2021

In This Section

7.3.3A.1 - Charge: Assault with Intent to Commit a Sexual Offence

See Also

7.3 - Sexual Offences

7.3.1 - Consent and Consent-related Fault Element

7.3.2 - Rape (From 1/1/92)

7.3.3 - Rape and Aggravated Rape (Pre-1/1/92)

7.3.4 - Assault with Intent to Rape (Pre-1/7/15)

7.3.5 - Sexual Assault (From 1/7/15)

7.3.6 - Indecent Assault (1/1/92 - 30/6/15)

7.3.7 - Indecent assault (Pre-1/1/92)

7.3.8 - Incest (From 1/7/17)

7.3.9 - Incest (Pre-1/7/17)

7.3.10 - Sexual penetration of a child under 12 (From 1/7/17)

7.3.11 - Sexual penetration of a child under 16 (From 1/7/17)

7.3.12 - Sexual penetration of a child under 16 (1/1/92 – 30/6/17)

7.3.13 - Sexual Penetration of a 16 or 17 Year Old Child (From 1/7/17)

7.3.14 - Sexual penetration of a 16 or 17 year old child (1/1/92 – 30/6/17)

7.3.15 - Sexual Assault of a child under 16 (From 1/7/17)

7.3.16 - Indecent Act with a Child under 16 (1/1/92 – 30/6/17)

7.3.17 - Sexual Assault of a child aged 16 or 17 under care, supervision or authority (From 1/7/17)

7.3.18 - Indecent Act with a 16 or 17 year old Child (1/12/06 – 30/6/17)

7.3.19 - Indecent act with a 16 year old child (5/8/91 – 30/11/06)

7.3.20 - Sexual Activity in the presence of a child under 16 (From 1/7/17)

7.3.21 - Sexual Activity in the presence of a child aged 16 or 17 under care, supervision or authority (From 1/7/17)

7.3.22 - Persistent sexual abuse of a child (From 1/7/17)

7.3.23 - Sexual Offences Against Children (Pre-1/1/92)

7.3.24 - Production of Child Abuse Material

7.3.25 - Distributing Child Abuse Material

7.3.26 - Production of Child Pornography

7.3.27 - Possessing Child Abuse Material

7.3.28 - Possession of Child Pornography