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Criminal Law Blog NSW

Sex offences are one of the most common and the gravest crimes committed in our society today.

However, in the record of sexual offences, one of the most complicated sexual assault crimes is called the incest. It is a sexual assault crime, which involves parties or blood relatives and various kinds of family relationships in other states of the Australia.

The most complicated problem with this offence is that the offended party or the victim seldom seeks legal assistance for reasons that she is embarrassed, traumatized or scared of the complicated legal procedures. In addition, one difficult factor why parties refuse to report immediately to the authorities is the relationship of the parties involved.

The result is a sad reality that the victim becomes emotionally and psychologically disturbed because of the damage caused by the sexual offence, whilst the offender goes scot-free.

In Australia, there are various legislations, which define sexual offences between relatives. Sexual offences, rape or penetrative sexual assaults on a member of a family is called an “incest sexual offence”, instead of defining it as a common rape. In cases of incest, consent is not an element because committing a sexual offence to a member of a family, especially if the offended party or victim is a minor, even without consent, makes the act itself criminal.

In a research, the common crime of rape is committed with force and intimidation, while in incest cases, most often is seen as a less serious offence, but there is a serious and intense social stigma on the victim and the family and it is called as a sexual offence between relatives. The courts also call for the reliefs and remedies to protect the children and young victims from exploitation and clear abuse of the family members.

In some states, the range of incest offences differs from one another. In South Australian laws, it focuses only on blood relatives and penalizes incest sexual offences between parent and the child and between siblings.

In other jurisdictions, they included offences between family relationships, such as half- blood relations, step-relationships, including adoption and foster relationships are included in incest sexual offences.

Still in other jurisdictions, non-consent in incest sexual relationships is an element, but other jurisdictions even if the sexual intercourse is consensual, its is still defined as an incest sexual offence is still punishable under the law due to the element of relationship of the parties.

Today, the courts urged victims to come out in the open to be legally assisted in the prosecution of their cases. However, as noted, there exist a problem on the part of the victims who are experiencing stigma and trauma cause by the sexual assault. Despite all the efforts in encouraging the victims, records reveal that only a small fraction of the numerous victims proceed with the prosecution of their sexual offence cases in our courts, and yet even a lesser percentage of the offenders are convicted.

In incest cases, the legal penalties imposed by law are not enough to deter offenders. The root cause of this problem is so complicated that it needs a deeper study on the issues of the societal problem.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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