What is Aggravated Indecent Assault ?

Aggravated Indecent assault is assault in circumstances of indecency which is aggravated because it is done in the company of another person or persons, the victim is under the authority of the alleged offender, or the victim has a serious physical disability or cognitive impairment. Aggravated Indecent Assault is characterised as a sex crime and has significant overlap with offences referred to as sexual assault.

Case law/Jurisdiction
An offence of Aggravated Indecent Assault is what is known as a “Table 1” offence under the relevant legislation, which means it is to be dealt with in the Local Court unless an election is it is to be dealt with on indictment by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The nature and elements of the offence were considered in R v Li (1997) 4 Crim LN 46 [15] which stated It is sufficient if the prosecution alleges and proves at least one particular circumstance of aggravation provided any circumstance of aggravation is proved beyond reasonable doubt

The Law

The Law in relation to Aggravated Indecent Assault is found in section 61L of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). Which states: –

“Any person who assaults another person and, at the time of, or immediately before or after, the assault, commits an act of indecency in circumstances of aggravation, Is liable to imprisonment for up to 10 years”.

What is an assault?

An assault is any act which intentionally or recklessly causes another person to fear immediate and unlawful violence. It is not necessary that the complainant be physically touched.

What is an “act of indecency”?

An indecent act is one which right minded persons would consider to be contrary to community standards of decency. The assault and the act of indecency do not need to be separate acts.

What are “circumstances of aggravation”?

Circumstances of aggravation are circumstances in which:

The alleged offender is in the company of another person or persons

The alleged victim is under the authority of the alleged offender

The alleged victim has a serious physical disability

The alleged victim has a cognitive impairment

What is a “person in authority”?

The Crimes Act provides that a person is “under the authority of another person” if the person is in the care, or under the supervision or authority, of the other person.

What constitutes “cognitive impairment”?

The Crimes Act provides that a person has a “cognitive impairment” if the person has:

An intellectual disability

A developmental disorder

A neurological disorder


A severe mental illness

A brain injury

What must the prosecution prove?

Since Aggravated Indecent Assault is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the prosecution.

The prosecution must prove the accused’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

That is a high standard of proof that the prosecution must achieve before someone can be convicted of Aggravated Indecent Assault.

To establish Aggravated Indecent Assault the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond reasonable doubt:

  • that the accused assaulted the complainant, and
  • that the assault was indecent, and
  • that the assault was without the consent of the complainant, and
  • that the accused knew that the complainant was not consenting, or he/she realised that there was a possibility that the complainant was not consenting, but he/she went ahead anyway, or he/she did not even think about whether the complainant was consenting or not — in other words, he/she did not care whether the complainant was consenting.


  • The alleged offender is in the company of another person or persons; or
  • The victim is under the age of 16 years; or
  • The alleged victim is under the authority of the alleged offender; or
  • The alleged victim has a serious physical disability; or
  • The alleged victim has a cognitive impairment.

Contact Us Now!

    If you are charged with the offence of Aggravated Indecent Assault what are your options?

    National Criminal Lawyers have been successful in defending a number of Aggravated Indecent Assault charges where the prosecution could not establish each of the elements offence. We have also achieved a number of non-convictions for Aggravated Indecent Assault.

    NCL offer the following options for those who have been charged with Aggravated Indecent Assault:

    1. We will negotiate with prosecutors (police or DPP) (a term referred to as “plea negotiations”) to request that the charge is withdrawn, downgraded or fact sheets amended;
    2. NCL will plead not guilty and go to hearing/trial and persuade the Court that prosecution has not proven its case beyond reasonable doubt;
    3. Plead guilty to the elements of the charge and then dispute the facts (at a special “disputed facts” hearing) with the view of having you sentenced less harshly; and/or
    4. Plead guilty with full acceptance of the facts as set out by the police and make strong submissions on your behalf requesting that the Court not record a criminal conviction.

    Fequently Asked Questions

    Why National Criminal Lawyers?

    There are three reasons to choose National Criminal Lawyers:

    1. We get the results

    We are the experts in either beating or having criminal charges withdrawn AND/OR obtaining the least restrictive penalty available. This is because no matter which option you choose within our tailored Options at Law you will be dealing with experienced criminal lawyers who can make sure the evidence is not only obtained properly but also that your case is prepared and presented to the highest best practice standards possible. This is also done without breaking your pocket.

    2. We give a Senior Defence Lawyer guarantee

    No matter which option at law you choose, National Criminal Lawyers can guarantee that a Senior Defence Lawyer will represent you. This means that with our over 25 years of Combined criminal law experience you will get the best result possible.

    3. National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights

    At National Criminal Lawyers we know that Criminal Law is a matter of Human Rights. For this reason, we take pride and passion in representing our clients. This pride and passion to assist those charged with an alleged or actual breach of the criminal law is to us a matter of righteous necessity and in that sense, you can always rest assured that National Criminal Lawyers are the best defenders of your rights. This true not only when the police have just simply got it wrong OR if they have got it right then we can speak with you and make sure you get you the best result available.

    If you have been charged with any Aggravated Indecent Assault offence our Team and National Criminal Lawyers are well versed and specialists in having charges either withdrawn and otherwise achieving favourable outcomes.

    Please contact our office on 02 9893 1889 or visit www.nationalcriminallawyers.com.au for more information about your options.

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