Under the law, it is a criminal offence to engage in sexual intercourse with a close family member.
This offence is known as incest and is contained in sections 78A and 78B of the Crimes Act 1900.
Section 78A states that it is against the law to have sexual intercourse with a close family member who is aged 16 years or older.
The law defines a ‘close family member’ as a parent, son, daughter, sibling (including a half-sibling), grandparent or grandchild.
However, incest does not refer to situations where you engage in sexual intercourse with a close family member under the age of 16.
Rather, this would constitute the offence of aggravated sexual assault on a child between the ages of 10 and 16, or aggravated sexual assault on a child under the age of 10, depending on the age of the child in question.
It’s also important to note that the legal definition of ‘sexual intercourse’ does not necessarily involve penetration.
The law defines ‘sexual intercourse’ as any penetration of a woman’s genitalia, or a person’s anus by another person or an object, as well as oral intercourse.
You can read more about the definition of ‘sexual intercourse’ here.
The maximum penalty for incest is 16 years imprisonment.
Furthermore, section 78B states that attempts to commit incest can attract a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.
While these penalties may seem heavy, it’s important to remember that they represent the absolute maximum penalty that can be imposed – therefore they will only apply in the most serious of cases.
Our experienced sexual assault lawyers can assist you in fighting the charges to escape a conviction or an onerous penalty.
Section 78A of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of ‘Incest’ and reads as follows:
(1) Any person who has sexual intercourse with a close family member who is of or above the age of 16 years is liable to imprisonment for 8 years.
(2) For the purposes of this section, a “close family member” is a parent, son, daughter, sibling (including a half-brother or half-sister), grandparent or grandchild, being such a family member from birth.
78B Incest attempts
Any person who attempts to commit an offence under section 78A is liable to imprisonment for two years.
(1) It shall be a sufficient defence to a charge under section 78A or section 78B that the person charged did not know that the person with whom the offence is alleged to have been committed was related to him or her, as alleged.
(2) It shall be no defence to a charge under section 78A or section 78B that the person with whom the offence is alleged to have been committed consented thereto.
78F Sanction of Attorney-General
(1) No prosecution for an offence under sections 78A or 78B shall be commenced without the sanction of the Attorney-General.
Being accused of incest can have a devastating impact on your familial relationships, as well as your reputation and future.
Because of the destructive impact that these accusations can have, it’s important to ensure that you are being represented by the right legal team.
The expert defence team at Sydney Criminal Lawyers® has considerable experience fighting and winning serious sexual assault cases such as incest.
We understand that these types of charges can take an emotional toll on yourself and your loved ones – so our lawyers will take the time to listen to your side of the story and advise you of the best possible course of action.
We fight hard to protect our clients’ innocence in every case, and always seek to have matters resolved at an early stage by identifying problems with the prosecution case and pushing to have the charges dropped on this basis.
Should your matter proceed to court, we guarantee that you will be represented only by one of our experienced senior lawyers.
These capable advocates will work alongside Sydney’s best criminal barristers to construct a strong defence case which puts forth your case in the most positive light.
Our lawyers are highly skilled at the art of cross-examination, and will work hard to cast doubt on the prosecution case by effectively examining all witnesses in a strategic manner.
We can also assist if you wish to plead guilty to the charges by preparing persuasive sentencing submissions which highlight the need for a lenient penalty.
For the best defence in your incest case, call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and book a FREE first appointment with one of our expert senior lawyers.