What the law states according to SA

A person who indecently assaults another is guilty of an offence. 

The offence of indecent assault will be seen as aggravated if the victim at the time was under the age of 14 years. 

The maximum penalty for a basic offence, one that is not aggravated, is 8 years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty for an aggravated offence, one being with a person under the age of 14, is 10 years imprisonment.

The prosecution must prove that you:

  • knew that the victim was not consenting or was recklessly indifferent as to the consent;
  • intended to assault the victim.

If the victim at the time is under the age of 14 years then it is unnecessary for the prosecution to establish that you knew of or was reckless as to the aggravating factor.

It may be a defence to the charge if you can show:

  • there was a lack of intent; or
  • that you had consent

Consent will not be a defence if the victim was under the age of 16 years. If the victim was between 16-17 consent can be a defence - if you believed on reasonable grounds that the victim was over 17 years of age.