Sexual Offences on Children Outside Australia

The Commonwealth, in combating so-called sex tourism, provides severe penalties for offenders who perpetrate sexual crimes on children outside Australia. Some of these offences are outlined below.


Engaging in sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 16 years outside Australia is punishable by imprisonment, for up to 20 years.

Causing a person under 16 to engage in sexual intercourse outside Australia in the presence of the defendant carries the same maximum penalty.

Engaging in sexual activity (other than sexual intercourse) with a person under 16 years of age, or causing a young person to engage in sexual activity in the presence of the defendant, outside Australia carries a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment.


It is a defence to the above offence if the conduct consists only of the child being in the presence of the defendant while sexual activity is engaged in and the defendant proves that he or she had did not intend to derive gratification from the presence of the child.

It is also a defence to the above charges if the defendant believes on reasonable grounds that the child was 16 at the time of the intercourse or sexual activity.


The maximum penalty rises to 25 years if the child has a mental impairment or is under the care, supervision or authority of the defendant.

The Commonwealth also provides penalties for people found guilty of trafficking in persons with the intent of having them engage in the provision of sexual services. The maximum is 25 years’ imprisonment in relation to child victims and, generally, 12 years in relation to adult victims but this can rise to 20 years in circumstances of aggravation.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.


If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.


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