Incest is considered to be a very serious offence. In Victoria, incest carries a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment.
The Offence of Incest
The offence of Incest is contained in section 44 of the Crimes Act 1958 which states:
A person must not take part in an act of sexual penetration with a person whom he or she knows to be his or her child or other lineal descendant or his or her step-child.
Accordingly, knowledge is a crucial element of incest. A person who engages in sex with a person that, unbeknownst to them, is their lineal decsendant does not commit an offence.
What the Police Must Prove
In order to find a person guilty of an offence, the court must be satisfied that they:
- Took part in an act of sexual penetration with the complainant;
- Took part in this act intentionally;
- The complainant is the accused’s daughter/son/step-daughter or step-son, sister, brother;
- At the time the offences occurred, they knew that the complainant was their child/step-child, sister, brother.
‘Sexual penetration’ is not confined to penetration by a penis, it can include the introduction of any part of a person’s body or an external object into the complainant’s vagina, anus or mouth.
See s 37D of the Crimes Act 1958 for detailed definition of ‘sexual penetration’.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
Incest is a strictly indictable charge. It will be heard in the Victorian County Court.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.