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Sexual Penetration of a Child Under 16

In Victoria, sexual penetration of a child under 16 carries a maximum penalty of up to 25 years imprisonment depending on the age of the victim and whether they were under your care, supervision or authority at the time of the offence.

The following table sets out the relevant maximum penalties:

Age of Victim (and circumstances if applicable) Maximum Penalty
Under 12 25 years imprisonment
12 to 16 and under the care, supervision or authority of the accused 15 years imprisonment
All other cases 10 years imprisonment


The Offence of Sexual Penetration of a Child under 16

The offence of Sexual penetration of a child under 16 is contained in section 45 of the Crimes Act which states:

A person who takes part in an act of sexual penetration with a child under the age of 16 is guilty of an indictable offence.

Section 35 of the Crimes Act defines sexual penetration as the introduction, to any extent, by a person of either:

  1. their penis into the vagina, anus or mouth of another person, whether or not there is emission of semen; OR
  2. an object or part of his or her body (other than the penis) into the vagina or anys of another person, other than in the course of a procedure carried out in good faith for medical or hygienic purposes.

What the Police Must Prove?

To find you guilty of sexual penetration of a child under 16, the police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you:

  1. Took part in an intentional act of sexual penetration with the victim;
  2. That the victim was under 16 years of age; and
  3. That you were not married to the victim.

Possible Defences for Sexual Penetration of a Child Under 16

A person charged with this offence can argue in their defence that:

  • The victim was 12 or older and consented, and:
    • They believed on reasonable grounds the victim was 16 or older; or
    • They were not more than 2 years older than them.

What Court will Hear this Matter?

The matter is an indictable offence only, meaning that it must be heard in the County Court.

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

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

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...

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