There are specific child sexual assault offences. Sexual offences legislation should include specific child sexual assault offences, including penetrative and non-penetrative sexual offences.

Children and young people face particular vulnerabilities to sexual abuse and exploitation due to their age, their social status and their dependency on adults. Good practice laws must criminalise specific penetrative and non-penetrative sexual offences against all children and young people, including for example, rape, sexual assault, including touching and groping or other contact of a sexual nature, as well as grooming and sexual communication with a child. Other specific child offences that are not addressed in this research should also be explicitly provided for, including child sexual exploitation, trafficking, persistent child sexual abuse, FGM and voyeurism.

The legislation must provide appropriate close-in-age defences or exceptions for consensual sexual activity between young people when one or both of them is under the age of consent and they are close-in-age. However, this defence should be excluded if there is a relationship of trust, authority or dependency between the child and the other person, or any other coercion, exploitation or pressure of the child.

GOOD PRACTICE IN HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLIANT SEXUAL OFFENCES LAWS

GOOD PRACTICE IN HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLIANT SEXUAL OFFENCES LAWS

This report lays out criteria for good practice human rights compliant laws across four areas of sexual offences legislation, namely rape/sexual assault, age of consent for sexual conduct, treatment of consensual same-sex sexual activity between adults, and sexual offences in relation to people with disability.

CHANGING LAWS, CHANGING LIVES

CHANGING LAWS, CHANGING LIVES

Since 2015, the Trust's legislative reform programme has been analysing the need for the reform of sexual offence laws and delivering technical assistance to support such reform. Find out more about our Changing Laws, Changing Lives programme.

NEXT STEPS TOWARDS REFORM: THE PACIFIC

NEXT STEPS TOWARDS REFORM: THE PACIFIC

This report examines the status of sexual offences legislation in the Commonwealth Pacific, assessing good practice and identifying where there are gaps in protection, with a particular focus on women, children, LGBT+ people and people with disability.

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