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Sexual Assault


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


Sexual assault is an offence under section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.  It is triable either way, meaning it may be heard in the magistrates court or Crown Court.


The prosecution must prove the following:


  • intentional touching;
  • which is sexual;
  • to which the complainant did not consent; 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.


The usual key issues for cases of sexual assault are sexual intent and consent, and these will need to be considered in detail before you are advised on plea.  Where arguing consent, 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.


Generally, this charge should be made for incidents not serious enough to be charged as rape or assault by penetration, and the touching can be with any part of the body, with anything else, through anything.  Touching of clothes can be sufficient. 


Maximum sentence: 10 years’ imprisonment
 Offence range: community order – seven years


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