“They are extremely competent in their legal and strategic advice, their files are very well prepared and they have some of the hardest-working and most dedicated solicitors that I have ever worked with”

Chambers & Partners

“They are able solicitors, who are hardworking and understand what is necessary tactically in preparation to advance a case”

Chambers & Partners

“The solicitors are approachable and care about the clients”

Chambers & Partners

Sexual offence solicitor; jargon-free glossary of terms

05 January 2022


With the rise of social media, instant messaging and chatting online, more and more people have found themselves on the receiving end of unwanted attention.

And this has led to more people seeking advice on what is and isn’t considered a sexual offence. But it has also led to an increase in more people being accused of perpetrating sexual offences, leading to stress for many people who have done nothing wrong.

At ABV Solicitors, we have a sexual offence solicitor who can help if you have been accused of a sexual offence and will ensure that your legal rights are represented should the accusation go to court.

In this short article, our sexual offence solicitor will break down some of the most common accusations we are asked to help with, using the Sexual Offences Act 2003 as a guide, but without jargon.


One of the most devastating things that can happen to someone, rape is a common accusation.

According to our sexual offence solicitor and Section 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, rape involves penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth by a penis without consent. And so, women cannot be prosecuted for this offence.

If found guilty, it carries a maximum life sentence and is an indictable only offence.

If you have been accused of rape, do not attempt to contact the accuser and call our team immediately for advice.

Sexual assault

Sexual assault is primarily based on touching any part of someone’s body without their consent.

It can occur through clothing or on their bare skin. It may or may not involve touching that amounts to penetration of a body part, such as kissing.

Sexual assault carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and is an either way offence. If you have been accused of this, please call our team.

Causing sexual activity without consent

This can include penetrative activities or non-penetrative activities; penetrative actions amount to rape and carry a life sentence, non-penetrative carry a sentence of 10 years.

In short, this action involves the perpetrator forcing the victim to carry out a sexual act on themselves, the perpetrator or someone else. Threats and coercion may be involved, both of which can extend the sentence received.

Assault by penetration

This is, in essence, an offence that revolves around penetration of the vagina or anus, but not the mouth.

The penetration can be with any part of the mouth, including the tongue, fingers, or an object. This accusation is usually based around the victim being uncertain as to what they were assaulted with, so a rape allegation cannot be justified as it has no basis.

If found guilty of assault by penetration, you could face a life sentence.

Sexual grooming

Typically based around children and vulnerable adults, sexual grooming is defined as gaining their trust via an emotional connection to sexually exploit them. This can be done in person, online or via the telephone, even if no additional offence occurs.

If found guilty of grooming, you may face up to 2 years in prison and will be placed on the sexual offenders’ register.

Posted in

Get the help you need

If you need to speak to someone urgently or need advice, call us 24/7 on 0344 587 9996 or leave your email and we'll get back to you.

Contact Form

  • We treat all personal data in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Data Protection Policy

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.