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Finding a sexual assault lawyer in Sydney

After a terrible event like sexual harassment, assault or domestic violence, the last thing you want to do is decipher complicated legal terms and laws, researching every confusing turn of phrase. You deserve to have a legal team on your side who breaks down the jargon into easy-to-understand, straightforward information. This article is a great place to start as you embark on your legal journey.  

Elements of sexual assault

In New South Wales (NSW), sexual assault cases are governed by the Crimes Act 1900. Despite the fact that this is a complicated matter, there are a few different ways that this form of assault is seen in the eyes of the law. According to the act, it is defined as any person who has sexual intercourse with someone else without consent and with the knowledge that the other person does not consent to the sexual intercourse. Breaking down that definition even further, sexual assault has three basic components: 

  1. Sexual intercourse must have happened. 
  2. There must be an absence of consent. 
  3. The other party must be aware that there is an absence of consent. 

The persecution must prove that all three elements of sexual assault were present during the event. If there is evidence of sexual intercourse without consent, NSW will treat it as a serious offence. In the  case, R v Hartikainen (unrep, 8/6/93, NSWCCA), Gleeson CJ said that “non-consensual intercourse is an extreme form of violence and one which the community expects the courts to take very seriously.” 

Because of this legal definition, it is important to understand what consent means in the eyes of the law. In NSW, consent is the act of knowingly agreeing to engage in sexual activity. If the victim is unconscious or otherwise impaired, or they do not have the capacity to give consent, sexual intercourse or sexual touching is illegal. There is a strong emphasis on both parties giving consent without the use of manipulation, threats, lies, tricks or other deceit. Here are the different kinds of sexual assault that are possible through the Crimes Act:

  • Sexual assault (s 61I) — 7 years imprisonment time.
  • Aggravated sexual assault (s 61J) — 10 years imprisonment time.
  • Aggravated sexual assault in company (s 61JA) — 15 years imprisonment time.
  • Aggravated indecent assault (s 61M(1)) — 5 years, increased to 7 years for offences committed on or after 1 January 2009.

In addition, the court’s decision in R v May ([1999] NSWCCA 40) made it clear that sexual assault would still be considered violent even if there was no additional harm caused. Sexual intercourse without consent will result in a maximum imprisonment sentence of 14 years. 

Finding the right sexual assault lawyer in Sydney

You need someone who will support you through the legal process, but finding the right sexual assault lawyer can seem overwhelming at first. However, there are some important things you should look for that will help you find the perfect match. Legal advice is a must for those who are going through a court case regarding sexual assault, and since lawyers are well versed in the criminal law and know how to navigate the court system – you don’t have to manage everything alone. Look for a team that will treat you well and ensure your case gets the care it deserves. 

The process of bringing forth a sexual assault case is layered and complex. The right team will have plenty of experience representing similar cases as yours. The more experience a lawyer brings to the table, the better. Building cases requires the prosecutor to accurately postulate what the defense will be. Preparation is key, and you need someone who can walk you through everything effectively and sensitively. 

In NSW, sexual assault cases are managed in the District Court. It is important to note the difference between sexual assault and a sexual offence, which may be seen in Local Court. Other sexual offences include:

  • Acts of indecency: Behaving inappropriately such as exposure in front of a child or pretending to perform a sexual act on another person.
  • Indecent assault: “Any person who assaults another person and, at the time of, or immediately before or after, the assault, commits an act of indecency on or in the presence of the other person.”
  • Forced self-manipulation: The victim is forced to perform sexual acts on themselves without their consent. 

How to win a sexual assault case

It is important, in order to win the case, for the prosecuting team to have proof and evidence on their side. A sexual assault lawyer will be able to ask the right questions to the alleged victim in order to find justice for both, including the alleged offender. Proving victimhood is one of their main goals, and they will be able to guide you through the process. Supplying sufficient evidence is often one of the greatest challenges, but, with the right team on your side, abuse claims will result in justice and the compensation the victim deserves. To learn more about the ins and outs of potential compensation, read Gerard Malouf Partners’ free Compensation Guide. 

Why you should bring sexual assault cases to court

As previously mentioned, sexual assault and sexual abuse cases can be very complicated, especially for a victim who is trying to recover from the assault. Bringing these cases to court will not only be a pathway to justice but could also result in compensation. Most of the current law is built on previous court cases that have shaped the way that sexual assault charges is seen in Australia. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed, we understand. Gerard Malouf Partners offer free consultations, either on the phone or in person. With a ‘triple-C’ attitude of “Compassion, Commitment and Competence” when managing our claims, we strive to make the compensation process as simple and painless as possible for our clients. Contact us for no-obligation legal advice about your claim. 

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