Incest in Victoria - Charges, Penalties and Sentencing

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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Incest (Vic)


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.

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