A brief guide to types of sexual offence in the UK

It is generally not considered an area of the law that most people want to know about, and with good reason. But, if you find yourself on the receiving end of a sexual offence allegation or are looking to make one against someone, it can be well worth knowing a bit more about the categories and types that exist under UK law.

Here are some of the sexual offences that can be committed in the UK, according to a sexual offence solicitor.


This is defined as non-consensual sexual intercourse, regardless of whether the victim is male or female. Consent has to be explicitly given, and if it wasn’t, there can be a rape accusation made against you. This is one of the most serious charges that can be levied in the UK, so be sure to have legal representation as soon as you can if you find you are going to be charged.

Sexual assault

This includes any unwanted sexual touching or other sexual activity that is non-consensual.

This can mean kissing someone without their consent, touching them sexually or even brushing against them on public transport in a provocative manner.

Depending on the type of sexual assault, you may find that the charges are more serious or minor, so it is always wise to seek guidance from a solicitor who specialises in sexual offence law.


Sexual abuse of children

This is one of the most serious types of sexual assault that can be committed in the UK. This involves any kind of sexual activity with a child under the age of 16, including grooming, exploitation, and exploitation of a child for the purposes of sexual gratification.

It can also be linked to taking inappropriate images of children, distributing them, or possessing them. Even if you didn’t take the photos, this could result in a serious sentence being placed on you, so seek legal advice as soon as you can.

Sexual exploitation

This includes the exploitation of someone for sexual purposes, including prostitution and trafficking.

In the UK in recent years, sexual exploitation has become a more commonly reported crime, and it carries extensive prison time if you are found guilty of it, irrespective of the age of the people that were being exploited or trafficked.


This includes the observation or recording of someone doing a private act, such as undressing or using the toilet, without their consent. Over the last few years, this law has been expanded to include upskirting, which involves taking a photo of someone without their consent under their trousers, down their top or up their skirt, usually with a smartphone.

Remember that these are only some of the areas that sexual offence law covers in the UK. So, if you are told that you are going to be reported to the police for any of these offences, or others such as lewd acts or flashing, then you need to seek the advice of a trained legal team as soon as possible to defend yourself.

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