Talk:Sexual Offences Act 2003

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While the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is generally thought by most scholars to be a bad law, this page should consist of more than just criticism (even though it is probably justified) and perhaps give more of the other side of the debate.


"The law is unique since neither the Home Office nor the Police have any intention of policing it or prosecuting those who break it except in extreme circumstances. "

This can't be the only case of a law that exists, but won't be policed except in extreme circumstances? Can it? Danohuiginn 12:03, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

No, minor infringement of speed limits is often ignored.Gloriousgee —Preceding undated comment added 18:24, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

New offences[edit]

What is dubious about this statement?

It replaced older sexual offences laws with more specific and explicit wording. It also created several new offences such as voyeurism, assault by penetration, causing a child to watch a sexual act, and penetration of any part of a corpse.

Certainly these new crimes exist in the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Is it considered dubious that these were legal before? On what basis? Mdwh (talk) 15:54, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

While I am not sure what reasoning was used in putting the dubious tag there, I would certainly question the voyeurism claim. The current statement suggests that all forms of voyeurism is now illegal but I can only find reference to voyeurism involving children in the Act. Or am I missing something?
In any case, I think we need to add a citation at the end of the statement which lists the relevant sections that introduce these new offences. Also, a second source that states that they are new offences would be useful support for the statement. Alternatively, we could drop the words "also" and "new" from the second sentence if no sources are readily available. Road Wizard (talk) 23:33, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Voyeurism is illegal, whatever the age of the person [1]. I guess links to the direct sections would be helpful, but it wasn't exactly hard for me to fine (it's listed under the heading "Voyeurism"...) Mdwh (talk) 00:50, 26 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for providing the link. With 143 sections it is a rather long Act and I must have missed that part. However, from the text it appears that you are incorrect; it is only non-consensual voyeurism that is illegal, consensual voyeurism appears to still be legal. This distinction needs to be made in the article.
I am having connection problems with my ISP at the moment, so I will have to edit the article later (unless you or another editor does it first). Road Wizard (talk) 12:19, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Dual Criminality: the part of the Statute regarding to "dual criminality" is as follows: "72 Offences outside the United Kingdom (1) Subject to subsection (2), any act done by a person in a country or territory outside the United Kingdom which— (a) constituted an offence under the law in force in that country or territory, and (b) would constitute a sexual offence to which this section applies if it had been done in England and Wales or in Northern Ireland, constitutes that sexual offence under the law of that part of the United Kingdom." Therefore the article is incorrect. The article states; "For UK nationals, acts performed outside the UK that would amount to an offence in the UK can be prosecuted as if they had been performed in the UK, regardless of how those acts are treated by the law of the other country." In fact, as the Statue (Section 72 to be specific) states, the act must constitute an offence under the law in force in the country where the offence was committed, as well as constituting an offence in the United Kingdom. So if a British citizen was to have consensual sex while travelling in Spain, and for the sake of this example, he is 18 and his girlfriend is 13, this would be legal, since the age of consent is 13 in Spain. When the 18 year-old returns to the United Kingdom, he has not broken any law, because it has to be illegal in both countries for Section 72 of the Act to have been violated. The fact that the age of consent is 16 in the United Kingdom doesn't matter, because the age of consent is 13 in Spain. If, for example, the girl in the example I gave was 11 years old, the 18 year-old would have broken the United Kingdom law, because 11 is below the age of consent in both countries. So in this case, the act done (consensual sex) would violate the Act, because an 18 year-old having consensual sex with an 11 year-old constitutes an offence in both the United Kingdom and Spain. Whitebrightlight (talk) 23:46, 6 August 2009 (UTC)


The text reads: A person (A) commits an offence if— (a) he intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus or mouth of another person (B) with his penis, (b) B does not consent to the penetration, and (c) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

This is incorrect.

The actual text reads: A person (A) commits an offence if—. (a)he intentionally penetrates the vagina or anus of another person (B) with a part of his body or anything else,. (b)the penetration is sexual,. (c)B does not consent to the penetration, and. (d)A does not reasonably believe that B consents..

There is no mention of the mouth nor the penus in this part of the act.

If there are no objections, or clarifications, I will ammend this in due course. surfingus (talk) 14:33, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

No, the text is correct. The article is referring to the offence of rape, which is found in section 1, rather than the offence of assault by penetration, which is in section 2.--George Burgess (talk) 20:26, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for the clarification. surfingus (talk) 12:06, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Major changes[edit]

Could we please have a reliable source that says that the changes contained in this section are "major", or something along those lines. This sort of value judgement (i.e. anything that uses superlatives) is meaningless unless it is attributed to the person or persons whose opinion it is. James500 (talk) 04:38, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Citations needed under Criticisms[edit]

There were various instances under the section Criticisms where it said citations needed. One of these even had the relevant citation next to it. There was also a 'dubious, discuss' somewhere, though the citations given provide ample substantiation of the claims. Most of the detail comes from the BBC article 'Teenage Kissing: The New Sex Crime?', which is clear and a good source of the criticisms. I have amended accordingly. Gloriousgee (talk) 18:39, 27 March 2013 (GMT)

What does this mean ?[edit]

I feel there is something seriously wrong with this sentence (apart from its excessive complexity and length); how can a law be an example of a behaviour ?:-

"The Act has faced criticism on several grounds, the most controversial of which is the criminalising of various common behaviours, such as laws which, on the face of it, outlaw consensual "sexual hugging" in public places or by underage persons, even when both participants are under age, followed by the issue of guidance notes which countermand this, saying they should almost never be prosecuted."

Is the sentence intended to convey this meaning ?:-

"The Act has faced criticism on several grounds, the most controversial of which is the criminalising of various common behaviours, such as consensual "sexual hugging" in public places or by underage persons, even when both participants are under age, followed by the issue of guidance notes which say that such crimes should almost never be prosecuted."