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SEXUAL OFFENCES ACT 2003

UK Public General Acts

Version 03/04/2017

2003 CHAPTER 42

Default Geographical Extent: E+W+S+N.I.


  • Part 1 (E+W+N.I.). Sexual Offences
    • Rape (E+W)
    • Assault (E+W)
    • Causing sexual activity without consent (E+W)
    • Rape and other offences against children under 13 (E+W)
    • Child sex offences (E+W)
    • Abuse of position of trust (E+W)
    • Familial child sex offences (E+W)
    • Offences against persons with a mental disorder impeding choice (E+W)
    • Inducements etc. to persons with a mental disorder (E+W)
    • Care workers for persons with a mental disorder (E+W)
    • Indecent photographs of children (E+W)
    • Sexual exploitation of children] (E+W)
    • Prostitution] (E+W)
    • Amendments relating to prostitution (E+W)
    • Trafficking (E+W+N.I.)
    • Preparatory offences (E+W)
    • Sex with an adult relative (E+W)
    • Other offences (E+W)
    • Offences outside the United Kingdom (E+W)
    • Supplementary and general (E+W)
  • Part 2. Notification and orders
    • Notification requirements
    • Information for verification
    • Information about release or transfer
    • Offences committed in a country outside the United Kingdom (N.I.)
    • Entry and examination of home address (S)
    • Entry and search of home address (E+W+N.I.)
    • Notification orders
    • Sexual harm prevention orders (England and Wales) (E+W)
    • Sexual offences prevention orders [F208 (Scotland and Northern Ireland)] (S+N.I.)
    • Foreign travel orders [F262 (Scotland and Northern Ireland)] (S+N.I.)
    • Sexual risk orders (England and Wales) (E+W)
    • Risk of sexual harm orders [F290 (Northern Ireland)] (N.I.)
    • Power to amend Schedules 3 and 5
    • General
  • Part 2A (E+W+N.I.). Closure orders
    • Basic definitions (E+W+N.I.)
    • Closure notices (E+W+N.I.)
    • Closure orders (E+W+N.I.)
    • Enforcement (E+W+N.I.)
    • Extension and discharge of closure orders (E+W+N.I.)
    • Appeals against closure orders etc. (E+W+N.I.)
    • Access to other premises (E+W+N.I.)
    • Reimbursement of costs, compensation etc. (E+W+N.I.)
    • General (E+W+N.I.)
  • Part 3. General
  • Version 03/04/2017
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  • Version 31/03/2017
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  • Version 31/01/2017
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  • Version 31/10/2016
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  • Version 06/04/2016
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  • Version 17/03/2016
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  • Version 03/05/2015
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  • Version 03/12/2012
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Introductory Text

Sexual Offences Act 2003

2003 CHAPTER 42

An Act to make new provision about sexual offences, their prevention and the protection of children from harm from other sexual acts, and for connected purposes.

[20th November 2003]

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Part 1 (E+W+N.I.)
Sexual Offences



Rape (E+W)


1 Rape (E+W)

(1) A person (A) commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis,
(b) B does not consent to the penetration, and
(c) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
(2) Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consents.

(3) Sections 75 and 76 apply to an offence under this section.

(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.

Assault (E+W)


2 Assault by penetration (E+W)

(1) A person (A) commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person (B) with a part of his body or anything else,
(b) the penetration is sexual,
(c) B does not consent to the penetration, and
(d) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
(2) Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consents.

(3) Sections 75 and 76 apply to an offence under this section.

(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.

3 Sexual assault (E+W)

(1) A person (A) commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally touches another person (B) ,
(b) the touching is sexual,
(c) B does not consent to the touching, and
(d) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
(2) Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consents.

(3) Sections 75 and 76 apply to an offence under this section.

(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;
(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.

Causing sexual activity without consent (E+W)


4 Causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent (E+W)

(1) A person (A) commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally causes another person (B) to engage in an activity,
(b) the activity is sexual,
(c) B does not consent to engaging in the activity, and
(d) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.
(2) Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consents.

(3) Sections 75 and 76 apply to an offence under this section.

(4) A person guilty of an offence under this section, if the activity caused involved—

(a) penetration of B’s anus or vagina,
(b) penetration of B’s mouth with a person’s penis,
(c) penetration of a person’s anus or vagina with a part of B’s body or by B with anything else, or
(d) penetration of a person’s mouth with B’s penis,
is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.
(5) Unless subsection (4) applies, a person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;
(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.

Rape and other offences against children under 13 (E+W)


5 Rape of a child under 13 (E+W)

(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with his penis, and
(b) the other person is under 13.
(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.

6 Assault of a child under 13 by penetration (E+W)

(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person with a part of his body or anything else,
(b) the penetration is sexual, and
(c) the other person is under 13.
(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.

7 Sexual assault of a child under 13 (E+W)

(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally touches another person,
(b) the touching is sexual, and
(c) the other person is under 13.
(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;
(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.

8 Causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity (E+W)

(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally causes or incites another person (B) to engage in an activity,
(b) the activity is sexual, and
(c) B is under 13.
(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section, if the activity caused or incited involved—

(a) penetration of B’s anus or vagina,
(b) penetration of B’s mouth with a person’s penis,
(c) penetration of a person’s anus or vagina with a part of B’s body or by B with anything else, or
(d) penetration of a person’s mouth with B’s penis,
is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.
(3) Unless subsection (2) applies, a person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;
(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.

Child sex offences (E+W)