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Assault By Penetration


Forrest Williams are specialist assault by penetration defence solicitors.  We are a Legal 500 law firm offering privately-funded bespoke services throughout England and Wales.


Assault by penetration is an offence under section 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.  It is indictable only, meaning it must be heard in the Crown Court.


The prosecution must prove the following:


  • intentional penetration;
  • of the vagina or anus (not mouth) of the complainant;
  • with a part of the defendant’s body or anything else;
  • that penetration was sexual;
  • the complainant did not consent to the penetration; and
  • the defendant did not reasonably believe that the complainant was consenting


If any of the above factors are not present, you should plead not guilty.


A key issue for cases of assault by penetration is that of consent, and this will need to be considered in detail before you are advised on plea.  You will be required to consider the steps you had taken to judge consent, and these steps will help determine how reasonable your belief of consent was.


Assault by penetration can be committed against a male or female, and committed by a male or female.


Alternative offences include attempt and sexual assault.


Section 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is drafted in a wide enough way for penetration by the penis to be included in the charge, but these incidences should be charged as rape, and not assault by penetration. 


Maximum sentence: life imprisonment
Offence range: community order – 19 years


If you are being investigated for, or charged with, assault by penetration, it is vital that you seek specialist help immediately.