Indecent Act with Child Under 16

In Victoria, the offence of Indecent Act with a Child Under 16 carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

The offence of Indecent Act with Child Under 16

The offence is contained in section 47 of the Crimes Act which states:

A person must not wilfully commit, or wilfully be in any way a party to the commission of, an indecent act with or in the presence of a child under the age of 16.

What the Police Must Prove

To find you guilty of Indecent Act with a Child Under 16, the police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You committed an indecent act or you were party to the commission of an indecent act;
  2. You committed the act with or in the presence of the victim;
  3. You did so wilfully;
  4. At the time of the indecent act the victim was under the age of 16; and
  5. You were not married to the victim.

There is no definition of what constitutes an ‘indecent act’ in the Crimes Act. It is any act that is contrary to community standards of decency.

Possible Defences for Indecent Act with a Child Under 16

A person charged with this offence may argue in their defence:

  • That the victim consented and either:
    • They believed on reasonable grounds that the child was 16 or older;
    • They were not more than 2 years older than the victim
  • They were married to the child.

What Court will Hear this Matter?

The matter is an indictable offence, meaning it is usually heard in the County Court. In some circumstances, it can be dealt with in Magistrates’ Court.

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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