Sexual assault is a very serious crime to be charged with. It carries a maximum prison sentence of life imprisonment if termed aggravated sexual assault. Moreover, it is a very important legal issue in Australia, particularly because Australia has incredibly high rates of sexual assault. Indeed, if you have been charged with this offence or are in need of information regarding this type of crime, it is incredibly important that you seek advice from rape lawyers in Melbourne. It is important that you know the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved and that you are aware of the specifics of the charge. If you are in need of information, make sure you check out this comprehensive guide below.
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault covers a wide range of unsolicited sexual behaviours and acts. It refers to actions that make a person feel scared and uncomfortable. The core issue of sexual assault cases is consent and whether valid consent was obtained from the victim.
Naturally, sexual assault cases can be really hard to deal with, particularly because of the nature of the crime and what may have occurred. However, all information must be shared with the Court in order to discern a fair, just outcome for all. It is very unfortunate that many sexual assault cases go unreported, which highlights why rape lawyers in Melbourne fulfil such an important function in the legal system.
What must be proved?
If you consult with rape lawyers in Melbourne, they’ll help you understand not only the defence, but the prosecution’s case as well. What must the prosecution prove? Here are several things they must prove:
- The sexual act was unwanted and no consent was provided
- The unwanted act was intentional
- The defendant was aware or at least confused as to whether consent had been provided
- The defendant did not withdraw or cease, despite the victim not having provided valid, clear consent
Myths associated with sexual assault cases
If you convene with rape lawyers in Melbourne, they’ll help illuminate some pretty glaring myths about sexual assault cases. One myth is that the offender is generally a stranger. While this may sound alarming, most sexual assault offenders are actually known to their victims in advance of the crime. Likewise, even if you are in a relationship with the offender, sexual assault can still occur. Unwanted sexual advances or activity is still termed sexual assault, even if it within the context of a relationship.
Likewise, there is also the myth that only women can be sexually assaulted. This is blatantly untrue, as most rape lawyers in Melbourne will deal with sexual assault charges where the victim is in fact a male. The offender can be any sexual orientation or gender.
The effects of sexual assault
Dealing with a sexual assault can be incredibly painful. Everyone reacts to assault in different ways. Victims often react with either shock or denial that it even happened. Some are unable to accept that it happened and will move on without convening with rape lawyers in Melbourne. This is why so many cases go unreported.
Likewise, if the offender is someone close to the victim, then fear is a perfectly justifiable emotion. You may feel trapped, like you can’t tell anyone about the encounter in fear that no one will believe you. Some victims even begin to blame themselves, as if it was somehow their fault that the assault occurred. Any signs of guilt or shame should be treated as irrational, since it is certainly not the victim’s fault in any capacity. If you have been assaulted, regardless of the circumstances, you should definitely get in contact with rape lawyers in Melbourne.