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What Is The Sexual Offences Act 2003?

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The Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes provisions for sexual offences in the UK, being used to define and determine the severity of these offences.

If you are accused of a sexual offence in the UK, it is likely that you will be charged under the Sexual Offences Act.

Here, we provide a summary of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, the types of offences that fall under the Act and what you should do if you are accused of such an offence.

While we hope this information is useful, please note, it should not be taken as legal advice. If you need legal support with allegations that fall under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, then please get in touch and our team can advise you.

Why was the Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduced?

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 replaced the Sexual Offences Act 1956. The changes included in the 2003 Act centred around the definitions of certain sexual offences, as well as updating outdated laws concerning homosexuality and cover scenarios that were not included in the previous Act, such as those involving vulnerable adults.

Changes included in the 2003 Act were also made in response to public opinion about an increase in the severity of cases involving sexual abuse, child abuse and sex trafficking.

What offences fall under the Sexual Offences Act 2003?

The offences that fall under the Sexual Offences Act are wide ranging. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Assault by penetration
  • Child sex offences
  • Abuse of a position of trust
  • Indecent photographs of children
  • Prostitution
  • Trafficking
  • Exposure
  • Voyeurism

What is the aim of the Sexual Offences Act 2003?

The aim of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 is set out in its introduction. It is “An Act to make new provision about sexual offences, their prevention and the protection of children from harm from other sexual acts, and for connected purposes.”

Credit for guilty plea

In short, where a guilty plea is indicated at the first stage of proceedings for an offence that falls under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, you could receive a reduction from 1/3 of a penalty.

More information regarding the potential outcomes for indicating a guilty plea can be found here.

What can I do if I’m accused of an offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003?

We understand how daunting it can be to be accused of committing under the Sexual Offences Act. Sexual Offences Act sentencing guidelines can be extremely strict for many offences, which means that it is essential you have specialist legal advice and representation on your side.

At JD Spicer Zeb, our sexual offence solicitors have experience in handling all manner of cases that fall under the remit of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. We know exactly what is required to build the strongest possible defence against the allegations you may be facing and what steps need to be taken to secure the best possible outcome.

We are highly skilled at handling the various types of evidence relied on for sexual offence cases including forensics, digital evidence and witness testimony. This level of expertise means that we are able to identify any potential flaws in the case being presented against you and make sure that any evidence needed to support your defence is highlighted.

We have over 45 years of experience in handling criminal law matters, with a Law Society accreditation in Criminal Litigation to demonstrate our expertise. We have a strong track record of success and also established close relationships with a number of the country’s leading criminal defence barristers.

If you are facing a charge under the Sexual Offences Act, we are here to provide you with the support you need.

Related matters:

We also provide support and guidance on various matters that are related to the Sexual Offences Act, including:

Our related cases

Fees and funding

In every instance, we are clear and transparent about the legal fees that will apply to your case.

If you need to attend court in relation to a charge under the Sexual Offence Act 2003, legal aid public funding may become available. This depends on whether the case justifies the grant of public funding.

Where you do not qualify for legal aid public funding, the alternative option is to fund the case on a private basis.

To find out more about the way we handle fees (both legal aid public funding and private fees) for a charge under the Sexual Offence Act 2003, please use the links provided below:

Contact our criminal defence lawyers today

If you are due to attend the police station, require any urgent specialist advice, or immediate representation after being charged under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

Or email: solicitors@jdspicer.co.uk

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you quickly.

24/7 legal representation for Sexual Offences Act charges

Please get in touch for a free consultation with one of our expert criminal defence solicitors, as well as immediate representation and advice for Sexual Offences Act charges.

We are available to represent clients all over England and Wales at any time, so please contact our Emergency Number at 07836 577 556.

Bespoke Private Fee Service

If you believe your case is likely to have serious consequences for you now, or in the future and you have the means to pay for this service

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Do we offer free consultations? 

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How can we help?

Common questions

We always work with the most experienced and best leading UK barristers, KCs (Kings Counsel). We cover all criminal cases 24/7 at the police station and court. Offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester cover cases across England and Wales. We can offer Legal Aid and affordable Private fee agreements. We can see you the same day, including virtually. Our Senior Partners supervise all of our cases.

How quickly do you respond?

We respond quickly even during out of hours. We do not get our work by paying for online adverts but based on the fact that few criminal law firms can match our 45 years of experience. Most of our cases are still from word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied clients. We are called daily by dissatisfied clients from firms with less experience than us. We respond very quickly to new enquiries. We know what clients seek and so we update clients rapidly.

Can you get cases dropped?

Yes, read about the recent cases we've helped our clients with here.

We always keep you updated and give straightforward advice. We will get cases dropped early where the case is weak or should not be prosecuted. We will be upfront with you about where you can benefit from a good result with an early guilty plea, such as a discount on your sentence. As we work on cases across all levels with clients from all walks of life, we are excellent at giving clear, spot-on advice. As an established firm, we can allocate a whole team to your case often at short notice to secure evidence to minimise the damage to you. 

Have you won any awards?


"JD Spicer Zeb demonstrated a clear commitment to client service through their work with vulnerable and diverse individuals in what can be severely traumatic circumstances".

Do you offer free consultations?

Where it is possible, we aim to provide an initial consultation to you. If we can speak to you, we can if required inform you about  –

  • Whether we can take the case on and our relevant experience.
  • Public and private funding benefits.
  • Assistance in applying for legal aid where we are likely to accept instructions.
  • An outline of options in police interview only. We will not advise you on which option to adopt.
  • Providing our free written guide explaining the police station process.
  • The gravity of routine and day-to-day offences you face.
  • Consequences of not attending the court or police station.
  • Consequences of interfering with any witnesses.
  • Retaining any evidence in support of your case.
  • If possible an outline of the elements of the offence that the police or CPS must prove.
  • This consultation will normally be by telephone or email and will only be for as long as we deem necessary to establish if we can act for you. If we cannot usefully give you any advice in this manner then we will not continue with the consultation. We will not discuss the case in depth for you to be able to decide on your plea or any significant aspect of the case, as this cannot be undertaken informally.
  • Referring you, if possible, to other firms for matters out of our specialism or if we cannot help.

Consultations do not apply to the following cases –

  • If we do not intend to take the case on.
  • Road Traffic cases, drink driving, drug driving, driving bans, speeding, no insurance, mobile phone use, points etc.
  • In all cases where we do not have the capacity to take your case or the availability of suitably qualified staff to provide an initial free consultation. This is applicable in all cases but especially where a more senior lawyer is required because of your personal needs or the complexity of the case.
  • Harassment/stalking/ coercive behaviour/malicious communications or road traffic cases and most sensitive cases. These cases are often too complicated to assess in short consultations.
  • The locations concerned may be too distant to represent you adequately or it may not be cost-effective for you or us.
  • The case is too complicated to assess or raises various charges or facts, complexity, or history to be considered informally or in a short consultation.
  • In most Legal aid transfers where legal aid is granted to another firm except in very grave cases, we may assess the case and merits for a transfer.
  • If your relationship has broken down with your existing solicitor or several solicitors.
  • If you have been released under investigation and have already had a police station attendance. 
  • If you hold legal aid with another firm and seek a second opinion.
  • If you are calling on behalf of the client as a friend or family member unless you have full authority and full facts.
  • To businesses.
  • Advising whether you were given good advice by your other solicitor.
  • Whether to decide to plead guilty or not guilty.
  • Whether you have an arguable defence in law or factually complicated defences.
  • Any advice you have had after your first court appearance.
  • Any advice on appeal on conviction or sentence.
  • If we feel we are unable to communicate with you.
  • If we are likely to be conflicted or breach our professional rules.