Are the Sentences Imposed for Sexual Offences in NSW Too Soft?


Radio shock-jocks, tabloid newspapers and even populist politicians will often claim that members of the judiciary are too soft-on crime, and on sex offenders in particular.

They claim the sentences handed-down do not sufficiently reflect the criminality of the conduct, going so far as to call the state’s sentencing practices a ‘joke’.

Putting aside the fact that study after study has found that members of the public impose sentences that are actually lighter than those handed-down by magistrates and judges when given all of the facts, this article outlines the actual sentences imposed by the District Court for various sexual offences in our state.

Sentences Imposed by the District Court of NSW

Below are the most recent statistics released by Judicial Commission of New South Wales regarding the sentences actually handed-down for various sexual offences in the District Court.

The figures are broken-down by number of cases, penalty type and, where a prison sentence has been imposed, both the full term and non-parole period.

The non-parole period is the minimum term a person must spend behind bars before being eligible to apply for release on parole.

The parole period is the time a person may be eligible to spend in the community subject to a range of parole conditions.

 Sexual intercourse without consent (‘sexual assault’) – section 61I Crimes Act

Number of cases: 244

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 89.3%

Suspended sentence: (no longer available): 10.2%

Section 10 bond: (now conditional release order without conviction): 0.4%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 1 0.5
3 13 to 18 Months 1 0.5
4 19 to 24 Months 8 3.7
5 25 to 30 Months 14 6.4
6 31 to 36 Months 22 10.1
7 37 to 42 Months 19 8.7
8 43 to 48 Months 28 12.8
9 49 to 54 Months  16 7.3
10 5 Years 18 8.3
11 6 Years 25 11.5
12 7 Years 13 6
13 8 Years 18 8.3
14 9 Years 12 5.5
15 10 Years 8 3.7
16 11 to 12 Years 10 4.6
17 13 to 14 Years 3 1.4
18 15 to 16 Years 1 0.5
19 17 to 18 Years 0 0
20 19 to 20 Years 0 0
21 Over 20 Years 1 0.5
NaN 218 100

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 4 1.8
2 7 to 12 Months 11 5
3 13 to 18 Months 26 11.9
4 19 to 24 Months 33 15.1
5 25 to 30 Months 28 12.8
6 31 to 36 Months 26 11.9
7 37 to 42 Months 11 5
8 43 to 48 Months 17 7.8
9 49 to 54 Months 12 5.5
10 5 Years 8 3.7
11 6 Years 15 6.9
12 7 Years 10 4.6
13 8 Years 10 4.6
14 9 Years 4 1.8
15 10 Years 1 0.5
16 11 to 12 Years 1 0.5
17 13 to 14 Years 0 0
18 15 to 16 Years 1 0.5
NaN 218 100

Aggravated sexual assault – section 61J(1) Crimes Act

Number of cases: 312

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 97.4%

Suspended sentence: (no longer available): 1.9%

Section 9 bond: (now covered by Community Correction Order): 0.6%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 1 0.3
4 19 to 24 Months 1 0..3
5 25 to 30 Months 3 1
6 31 to 36 Months 10 3.3
7 37 to 42 Months 4 1.3
8 43 to 48 Months 6 2
9 49 to 54 Months 5 1.6
10 5 Years 14 4.6
11 6 Years 44 14.5
12 7 Years 17 5.6
13 8 Years 37 12.2
14 9 Years 28 9.2
15 10 Years 29 9.5
16 11 to 12 Years 44 14.5
17 13 to 14 Years 22 7.2
18 15 to 16 Years 18 5.9
19 17 to 18 Years 7 2.3
20 19 to 20 Years 5 1.6
21 Over 20 Years 9 3
NaN 304 101

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 7 2.3
3 13 to 18 Months 10 3.3
4 19 to 24 Months 10 3.3
5 25 to 30 Months 8 2.6
6 31 to 36 Months 25 8.2
7 37 to 42 Months 20 6.6
8 43 to 48 Months 23 7.6
9 49 to 54 Months 14  4.6
10 5 Years 22 7.2
11 6 Years 33 10.9
12 7 Years 35 11.5
13 8 Years 28 9.2
14 9 Years 18 5.9
15 10 Years 17 5.6
16 11 to 12 Years 18 5.9
17 13 to 14 Years 9 3
18 15 to 16 Years 0 0
19 17 to 18 Years 3 1
20 19 to 20 Years 0 0
21 Over 20 Years 4 1.3
NaN 304 100

Aggravated sexual assault in company (deprive liberty) – section 61JA(1) Crimes Act

Number of cases: 2

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 50%

Suspended sentence: (no longer available): 50%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 0 0
5 25 to 30 Months 0 0
6 31 to 36 Months 0 0
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 0 0
9 49 to 54 Months 0  0
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 0 0
12 7 Years 1 100
NaN 1 100

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 0 0
5 25 to 30 Months 0 0
6 31 to 36 Months 0 0
7 37 to 42 Months 1 100
NaN 1 100

Aggravated sexual assault in company (inflict ABH) – section 61JA(1) Crimes Act

Number of cases: 5

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 100%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 0 0
5 25 to 30 Months 0 0
6 31 to 36 Months 0 0
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 0 0
9 49 to 54 Months 0 0
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 0 0
12 7 Years 1 20
13 8 Years 0 0
14 9 Years 0 0
15 10 Years 1 20
16 11 to 12 Years 0 0
17 13 to 14 Years 0 0
18 15 to 16 Years 2 40
19 17 to 18 Years 0 0
20 19 to 20 Years 0 0
21 Greater than 20 Years 1 20
NaN 5 100

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 0 0
5 25 to 30 Months 0 0
6 31 to 36 Months 1 20
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 0 0
9 49 to 54 Months 0  0
10 5 Years 1 20
11 6 Years 0 0
12 7 Years 0 0
13 8 Years 0 0
14 9 Years 2 40
15 10 Years 0 0
16 11 to 12 Years 0 0
17 13 to 14 Years 0 0
18 15 to 16 Years 0 0
19 17 to 18 Years 1 20
20 Life 0 0
NaN 5 100

Aggravated sexual assault in company (threaten ABH by weapon) – section 61JA(1) Crimes Act

Number of cases: 5

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 100%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 0 0
5 25 to 30 Months 0 0
6 31 to 36 Months 0 0
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 0 0
9 49 to 54 Months 0 0
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 0 0
12 7 Years 0 0
13 8 Years 1 20
14 9 Years 1 20
15 10 Years 0 0
16 11 to 12 Years 0 0
17 13 to 14 Years 1 20
18 15 to 16 Years 2 40
NaN 5 100

Sexual intercourse – child <10 – section 66A(1) Crimes Act

Number of cases: 16

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 81.3%

Suspended Sentence (no longer available): 12.5%

Section 9 Bond (now covered by Community Correction Order): 6.3%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 0 0
5 25 to 30 Months 1 7.7
6 31 to 36 Months 0 0
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 0 0
9 49 to 54 Months 0 0
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 0 0
12 7 Years 4 30.8
13 8 Years 0 0
14 9 Years 2 15.4
15 10 Years 0 0
16 11 to 12 Years 3 23.1
17 13 to 14 Years 2 15.4
18 15 to 16 Years 0 0
19 17 to 18 Years 0 0
20 19 to 20 Years 1 7.7
NaN 13 100

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 1 7.7
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 0 0
5 25 to 30 Months 0 0
6 31 to 36 Months 0 0
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 3 23.1
9 49 to 54 Months 1 7.7
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 0 0
12 7 Years 3 23.1
13 8 Years 2 15.4
14 9 Years 2 15.4
15 10 Years 0 0
16 11 to 12 Years 0 0
17 13 to 14 Years 1 7.7
NaN 13 100

Sexual intercourse with child between 10 and 14 – section 66C(1) Crimes Act

Number of cases: 13

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 61.5%

Suspended Sentence (no longer available): 38.5%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 2 25
4 19 to 24 Months 0 0
5 25 to 30 Months 0 0
6 31 to 36 Months 1 12.5
7 37 to 42 Months 3 37.5
8 43 to 48 Months 0 0
9 49 to 54 Months 0 0
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 0 0
12 7 Years 0 0
13 8 Years 1 12.5
14 9 Years 1 12.5
NaN 8 100

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 1 12.5
3 13 to 18 Months 2 25
4 19 to 24 Months 2 25
5 25 to 30 Months 1 12.5
6 31 to 36 Months 0 0
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 0 0
9 49 to 54 Months 0 0
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 2 25
NaN 8 100

Aggravated sexual intercourse with child between 10 and 14 – section 66C(2) Crimes Act

Number of cases: 4

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 100%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 0 0
5 25 to 30 Months 0 0
6 31 to 36 Months 0 0
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 0 0
9 49 to 54 Months 0 0
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 0 0
12 7 Years 2 50
13 8 Years 0 0
14 9 Years 0 0
15 10 Years 0 0
16 11 to 12 Years 1 25
17 13 to 14 Years 0 0
18 15 to 16 Years 1 25
NaN 4 100

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 0 0
5 25 to 30 Months 0 0
6 31 to 36 Months 0 0
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 1 25
9 49 to 54 Months 1 25
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 0 0
12 7 Years 0 0
13 8 Years 1 25
NaN 4 100

Sexual intercourse with child between 14 and 16 – section 66C(3) Crimes Act

Number of cases: 156

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 65.4%

Suspended Sentence (no longer available): 24.4%

Section 9 Bond (now covered by Community Correction Order): 9.6%

Section 10(1)(b) (now conditional release order without conviction): 0.6%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 1 1
2 7 to 12 Months 2 2
3 13 to 18 Months 9 8.8
4 19 to 24 Months 12 11.8
5 25 to 30 Months 14 13.7
6 31 to 36 Months 13 12.7
7 37 to 42 Months 11 10.8
8 43 to 48 Months 12 11.8
9 49 to 54 Months 7 6.9
10 5 Years 6 5.9
11 6 Years 5 4.9
12 7 Years 4 3.9
13 8 Years 1 1
14 9 Years 2 2
15 10 Years 1 1
16 11 to 12 Years 1 1
17 13 to 14 Years 1 1
18 15 to 16 Years 0 0
19 17 to 18 Years 0 0
20 19 to 20 Years 0 0
21 Greater than 20 Years 0 0
22 Life 0 0
NaN 102 100

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 3 2.9
2 7 to 12 Months 22 21.6
3 13 to 18 Months 21 20.6
4 19 to 24 Months 16 15.7
5 25 to 30 Months 14 13.7
6 31 to 36 Months 11 10.8
7 37 to 42 Months 3 2.9
8 43 to 48 Months 1 1
9 49 to 54 Months 2 2
10 5 Years 3 2.9
11 6 Years 3 2.9
12 7 Years 2 2
13 8 Years 1 1
14 9 Years 0 0
15 10 Years 0 0
16 11 to 12 Years 0 0
17 13 to 14 Years 0 0
18 15 to 16 Years 0 0
19 17 to 18 Years 0 0
20 19 to 20 Years 0 0
21 Greater than 20 Years 0 0
22 Life 0 0
NaN 102 100


Aggravated sexual intercourse with child between 14 and 16 – section 66C(4) Crimes Act

Number of cases: 8

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 100%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 0 0
5 25 to 30 Months 0 0
6 31 to 36 Months 0 0
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 3 37.5
9 49 to 54 Months 1 12.5
10 5 Years 2 25
11 6 Years 0 0
12 7 Years 0 0
13 8 Years 1 12.5
14 9 Years 0 0
15 10 Years 0 0
16 11 to 12 Years 1 12.5
#NaN 8 100

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 1 12.5
5 25 to 30 Months 3 37.5
6 31 to 36 Months 2 25
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 0 0
9 49 to 54 Months 0 0
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 1 12.5
12 7 Years 0 0
13 8 Years 0 0
14 9 Years 1 12.5
NaN 8 100

Procure child >= 14 for unlawful sexual activity – section 66EB (2) Crimes Act

Number of cases: 2

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 100%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases   %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 0 0
5 25 to 30 Months 0 0
6 31 to 36 Months 0 0
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 2 66.7
9 49 to 54 Months 0 0
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 0 0
12 7 Years 1 33.3
NaN 3   100

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 1 33.3
5 25 to 30 Months 1 33.3
6 31 to 36 Months 0 0
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 0 0
9 49 to 54 Months 0 0
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 1 33.3
NaN 3 100


Groom child <14 for unlawful sexual activity – section 66EB (3) Crimes Act

Number of cases: 1

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 100%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 0 0
5 25 to 30 Months 0 0
6 31 to 36 Months 0 0
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 0 0
9 49 to 54 Months 0 0
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 0 0
12 7 Years 1 100
NaN 1 100

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 0 0
4 19 to 24 Months 0 0
5 25 to 30 Months 0 0
6 31 to 36 Months 0 0
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 1 100
NaN 1 100


Indecent assault – section 61L Crimes Act

Number of cases: 150

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 36

Periodic Detention (no longer available): 2.7%

Intensive Correction Order: 4.7%

Suspended Sentence (no longer available): 22.7%

Community Service Order (now covered by Community Correction Order): 1.3%

Section 9 Bond (now covered by Community Correction Order): 30.7%

Fine only: 0.7%

Section 10A: 0.7%

Section 10(1)(b) (now conditional release order without conviction): 0.6%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 6 11.1
3 13 to 18 Months 10 18.5
4 19 to 24 Months 13 24.1
5 25 to 30 Months 9 16.7
6 31 to 36 Months 6 11.1
7 37 to 42 Months 3 5.6
8 43 to 48 Months 2 3.7
9 49 to 54 Months 0 0
10 5 Years 4 7.4
11 6 Years 1 1.9
NaN 54 100

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 2 3.7
2 7 to 12 Months 24 44.4
3 13 to 18 Months 13 24.1
4 19 to 24 Months 5 9.3
5 25 to 30 Months 4 7.4
6 31 to 36 Months 2 3.7
7 37 to 42 Months 2 3.7
8 43 to 48 Months 2 3.7
NaN 54 100

Aggravated indecent assault – section 61M(1) Crimes Act

Number of cases: 48

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 72.9%

Suspended Sentence (no longer available): 16.7%

Section 9 Bond (now covered by Community Correction Order): 8.3%

Section 10(1)(a) (now conditional release order without conviction): 2.1%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 0 0
3 13 to 18 Months 2 5.7
4 19 to 24 Months 4 11.4
5 25 to 30 Months 6 17.1
6 31 to 36 Months 7 20
7 37 to 42 Months 3 8.6
8 43 to 48 Months 2 5.7
9 49 to 54 Months 2 5.7
10 5 Years 5 14.3
11 6 Years 2 5.7
12 7 Years 1 2.9
13 8 Years 0 0
14 9 Years 1 2.9
NaN 35 100

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 2 5.7
2 7 to 12 Months 6 17.1
3 13 to 18 Months 10 28.6
4 19 to 24 Months 4 11.4
5 25 to 30 Months 5 14.3
6 31 to 36 Months 5 14.3
7 37 to 42 Months 0 0
8 43 to 48 Months 1 2.9
9 49 to 54 Months 1 2.9
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 0 0
12 7 Years 1 2.9
NaN 35 100


Aggravated indecent assault child <16 – section 61M(2) Crimes Act

Number of cases: 173

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 76.3%

Suspended Sentence (no longer available): 20.2%

Section 9 Bond (now covered by Community Correction Order): 3.5%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 0 0
2 7 to 12 Months 2 1.5
3 13 to 18 Months 10 7.6
4 19 to 24 Months 9 6.8
5 25 to 30 Months 16 12.1
6 31 to 36 Months 22 16.7
7 37 to 42 Months 6 4.5
8 43 to 48 Months 14 10.6
9 49 to 54 Months 7 5.3
10 5 Years 11 8.3
11 6 Years 15 11.4
12 7 Years 6 4.5
13 8 Years 7 5.3
14 9 Years 3 2.3
15 10 Years 2 1.5
16 11 to 12 Years 2 1.5
NaN 132 100

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 5 3.8
2 7 to 12 Months 14 10.6
3 13 to 18 Months 31 23.5
4 19 to 24 Months 18 13.6
5 25 to 30 Months 13 9.8
6 31 to 36 Months 15 11.4
7 37 to 42 Months 10 7.6
8 43 to 48 Months 9 6.8
9 49 to 54 Months 5 3.8
10 5 Years 3 2.3
11 6 Years 4 3
12 7 Years 4 3
13 8 Years 0 0
14 9 Years 1 0.8
NaN 132 100

Disseminate/produce/possess child abuse material – section 91H(2)

Number of cases: 165

Type of penalty imposed:

Prison: 79.4%

Periodic detention (no longer available): 0.6%

Intensive Correction Order: 6.7%

Suspended Sentence (no longer available): 9.1%

Section 9 Bond (now covered by Community Correction Order): 4.2%

Length of prison terms:

Full term:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 1 0.8
2 7 to 12 Months 2 1.5
3 13 to 18 Months 15 11.5
4 19 to 24 Months 23 17.6
5 25 to 30 Months 25 19.1
6 31 to 36 Months 22 16.8
7 37 to 42 Months 13 9.9
8 43 to 48 Months 11 8.4
9 49 to 54 Months 7 5.3
10 5 Years 3 2.3
11 6 Years 4 3.1
12 7 Years 0 0
13 8 Years 2 1.5
14 9 Years 2 1.5
15 10 Years 0 0
16 11 to 12 Years 0 0
17 13 to 14 Years 0 0
18 15 to 16 Years 1 0.8
NaN 131 100

Non-parole period:

Term Cases %
1 Up to 6 Months 6 4.6
2 7 to 12 Months 36 27.5
3 13 to 18 Months 31 23.7
4 19 to 24 Months 27 20.6
5 25 to 30 Months 13 9.9
6 31 to 36 Months 8 6.1
7 37 to 42 Months 1 0.8
8 43 to 48 Months 5 3.8
9 49 to 54 Months 1 0.8
10 5 Years 0 0
11 6 Years 0 0
12 7 Years 2 1.5
13 8 Years 0 0
14 9 Years 0 0
15 10 Years 0 0
16 11 to 12 Years 0 0
17 13 to 14 Years 1 0.8
NaN 131 100

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About Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist and Principal at Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, Australia's leading team of criminal and traffic defence lawyers.