Gross indecency (criminal offence)

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Gross indecency is a British and Canadian legal term which was used to criminalise sexual activity between men, short of anal penetration. The term was first used in British law in a statute of the British Parliament in 1885, and was carried forward in other statutes in Britain, Canada and other then-British colonies. The offence was never actually defined in any of the statutes which used it, leaving the scope of the offence to be defined by decisions of the courts.

United Kingdom[edit]

In Britain, the term was used in the following criminal offences:


In Canada, the term "gross indecency" was used in the Criminal Code (sections 178 (1892), 206 (1906, 1927), 149 (1953-1954), 157 (1970), 161 (1985)) as well as in the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1968-1969, section 7.

The term was repealed in 1985 with an amendment to both the Criminal Code and the Canada Evidence Act.[1]