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Sexual Offences and Their Penalties

We all have our different reasons for wanting to know about the laws surrounding sexual offences in the UK. You may wonder how much of a penalty someone can get for downloading child pornography or having a threesome with their boss and another employee. 

Or maybe you’re curious about whether your partner has committed an offence by sharing intimate images with another person without your consent. Whatever your reason for needing information, this article has your back by informing you about the different types of sexual offences and their penalties.


Rape is a crime in which there is either an attempt to have sexual intercourse or actual penetration with a person without that person’s consent. The victim can be male or female, and it’s possible for them to be under 16 years old.

There are different types of rape:

  • Sexual assault includes unwanted touching of the vagina, anus, or penis, attempting to penetrate someone else with one’s body parts (e.g., fingers), grabbing someone’s breasts, rubbing against someone else sexually, exposing oneself in public places such as parks, etc. It also includes threats made against another person, so they do not report it to the police when something bad happens later on down the line.
  • Sodomy refers specifically to men having sex with other men, but there are also cases where women get sodomized by other females too.

If this is a first offence and you are found guilty, you may only be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison. It is also possible to be given a fine instead of going to jail if it’s your first conviction. If you are found guilty of raping someone under 13 years old, you will be sentenced to at least 15 years in prison.

Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is a serious crime. The law protects children from sexual abuse and defines it as any sexuality with a child under 16. This includes touching, kissing, or any other behavior involving touching or rubbing against your own body (such as groping).

Child sexual abuse can take place in many different ways: through flirting, showing pornographic images at home, sending messages via social media, but also sending explicit photo messages directly to someone else’s phone number without their knowledge or consent (these are often called ‘sexting’). When this happens, it means someone has been involved in an offence under section 1(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which makes it illegal even if no physical contact occurs.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman. If you have committed any offence, you will also have consequences.

Intimate Partner Sexual Violence (IPSV)

Intimate partner sexual violence (IPSV) is a crime that can be punished with up to 5 years imprisonment. It’s defined as a crime where a person is subjected to violence, whether physical or sexual, by a current or former partner or spouse who has been the victim of the offence in the past 12 months.

The maximum penalty for IPSV under section 2(1) Criminal Justice Act 1988 is 10 years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine if there was also force used during the commission of this offence, however, this may not apply if you can prove that your behavior was reasonable at all times during these events.

Extreme Pornography

In the United Kingdom, it is an offence to possess extreme pornographic images. This includes material that shows real children engaged in sexual activity and/or bestiality. The maximum penalty for this offence is jail time for up to 3 years. 

Suppose you are convicted of this kind of crime. In that case, your sentence will be doubled if it was committed by a commercial organization or increased to 10 years if you were employed by one at the time of committing your offences against justice system rules and regulations.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can be defined as a persistent course of unwelcome verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. It may include inappropriate jokes, inappropriate comments about a person’s body or clothing, unwanted comments about a person’s sex life and personal relationships, and creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for the victim. 

In the UK, sexual harassment is covered by the Equality Act 2010, which states that it is unlawful to discriminate against an individual on the grounds of age (16 years old and over), gender reassignment, pregnancy, and maternity leave, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief (unless they are in direct employment), disability (including mental impairment), gender reassignment or sexual orientation. 

In addition to this legislation, there are also specific offences under section 3 of the Public Order Act 1986 that relate specifically to harassment in public places such as work premises and transport facilities.

The law says that anyone who harasses another person may face fines up to £5,000 ($6,760), six months in prison, or both. You may also be fired if you’re a teacher or a supervisor who sexually harasses students or employees.

Professional Sexual Exploitation

Professional sexual exploitation is where a worker, or someone who has power over another person, uses that power to exploit them sexually. This could be for the purpose of sexual gratification, but it can also include other forms of abuse, including physical, emotional, and financial. It’s important to note that the perpetrator does not have to be a direct employee of the company they work for, in some cases, they may not even be an employee.

The maximum penalty for offence of this nature is life imprisonment if it takes place in the UK. However, this is only if both parties agree on it happening (if one party doesn’t agree, it will be considered rape as per law). If there were no agreement, they would receive 20 years in prison – with an extended sentence if they were under 18.

Contact us at centralchamberslaw.com to schedule and free appointment with one of our attorneys.