Sexual abuse and other sexual crimes

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is a term used to explain any act which is sexual in nature that someone does not, or cannot consent to. It is sometimes used to describe rape or unlawful sexual connection, but also refers to other sexual acts that are included in areas of the Crimes Act 1961. This may include:

  • Sexual touching (e.g. touching genitals, breasts)
  • Being made to touch another person sexually, or being made to touch yourself sexually in front of another person
  • Some non-touching behaviour (e.g. being made to watch sexual behaviour, being watched while doing sexual behaviour).

These behaviours are illegal under various sections in the Crimes Act 1961.

Other Sexual Crimes

The Crimes Act 1961 legislates for the following sexual crimes:

Section 129 – Attempted sexual violation and assault with intent to commit sexual violation.

A person can be charged for attempting to sexually violate someone. They would be liable for imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years. (Click here for the definition of sexual violation)

For the full definition as written in the 1961 Crimes Act please follow this link: Crimes Act 1961, Section 129

Section 130 – Incest
It is illegal to have a sexual connection between two people when their relationship is that of parent and child, siblings, half siblings or grandparent and grandchild. Everyone of the age of 16 years old who commits incest is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.

For the full definition as written in the 1961 Crimes Act please follow this link: Crimes Act 1961, Section 130

Section 131 – Sexual conduct with dependent family member
It is illegal to have, or attempt to have a sexual connection with a dependent family member under the age of 18 years old. It is illegal to do an indecent act (see below for the definition of indecent assault) to a dependent family member under the age of 18 years old.

A dependent family member is defined as:

(1) A person having authority of another person, who is their:

  • Parent, step-parent, foster parent, guardian, uncle, or aunt, or
  • A parent, step-parent or foster parent of the above, or
  • A child of their parent, or step parent, or
  • The spouse or de-facto partner of any of the above.

(2) A member of the same family, Whanau, or other culturally recognised family group, and the person has responsibility for, or significant role in their upbringing.

(3) They are living with the person as a member of their family, and the person has responsibility for, or significant role in their upbringing.

For the full definition as written in the 1961 Crimes Act please follow this link: Crimes Act 1961, Section 131

Section 131B – Meeting a young person under 16 following sexual grooming.
It is illegal to meet with, or to travel with the intention of meeting with, a person under the age of 16 with the intention of having a sexual connection or doing an indecent act. Every person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years.

For the full definition as written in the 1961 Crimes Act please follow this link: Crimes Act 1961, Section 131B

Section 132 – Sexual conduct with a child under 12 years old.
It is illegal to have a sexual connection, attempt a sexual connection, or do an indecent act on a child under the age of 12 years old. Consent is not an issue in this charge (as the child is under 12 years and unable to consent) and also that the child is not able to be charged.

For the full definition as written in the 1961 Crimes Act please follow this link: Crimes Act 1961, Section 132

Section 134 – Sexual conduct with a young person under 16 years old.
It is illegal to have a sexual connection, attempt sexual connection, or do an indecent act to a young person under the age of 16 years old. Consent is not an aspect of this charge (if it was then a more serious charge would apply) and it is important to note that both parties can be charged for this offence – meaning it is illegal to have any sexual conduct with another person while under 16 years of age.
In order to have any defense under this section, reasonable steps must be taken to find out whether the young person concerned was over the age of 16 years old.

An example of an indecent act within this section might be where a 20 year old male encourages a 13 year old girl to touch his penis with her hand.

For the full definition as written in the 1961 Crimes Act please follow this link: Crimes Act 1961, Section 134

Section 135 – Indecent Assault
It is illegal to assault (touching in any way) another person, male or female, in an indecent manner or way without their consent. An example of an indecent assault might be where a 25 year old man touches the buttocks of a 24 year old woman with his hands while on a busy commuter bus. If he did this without her permission or consent then that would be an indecent assault – an assault with elements of indecency.

For the full definition as written in the 1961 Crimes Act please follow this link: Crimes Act 1961, Section 135

 

Related pages:

Legal defintions

What does the law say about consent?