Child sexual assault offences are gender-neutral. Child sexual assault offences should be gender-neutral. Any child, regardless of sex or gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, or any other characteristic, can be raped or otherwise sexually assaulted. The definitions of crimes should not exclude any potential victim/survivor.

Some countries still explicitly limit child sexual assaults to girls, for example in ‘defilement’-type offences. This approach is discriminatory on the basis of sex. It is based on, and perpetuates the false myth that only females can be raped or subjected to other sexual assaults. It denies male children protection from abuse while protecting abusers. Child sexual assault laws that are not gender-neutral also violate fundamental rights under many human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which every Commonwealth country is a party.

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: AFRICA

NEXT STEPS TOWARDS REFORM: AFRICA

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

Keep in Touch

Sign up to our newsletter for updates on key legal challenges to anti-LGBT laws around the world, news on the reform of discriminatory laws in the Commonwealth, comment from our Director on landmark judgments and employment opportunities at the Trust.

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER