General

The Theory and Practice Behind Sexual Assault Defences

While the causes and cases of sexual assault still are a problem throughout society, there is also a seemingly rising problem of people being falsely accused of sexual crimes they didn’t commit, leading to many problems, especially those needing to prove their innocence through legal defence proceedings. Let’s get straight into this topic, exploring.

The best defence against an allegation of sexual assault is very dependent on the facts of your case and will vary from case to case. However, there are two typical defences to a charge of sexual assault:

(1) the complainant consented to the act in issue, or

(2) you believed the complainant consented to the act but were mistaken.

How these two terms are perceived can depend on the individual circumstances of the case and the state or part of the world you’re in, but the core of which remains the same. Basically, you must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the complainant did consent to the act in question, and only then you can be acquitted of the charges. You need to show that there are grounds to believe consent did occur.

You can alternatively argue under the guidance of a trusted sex crime lawyer that you acted in good faith but made a mistake in believing that the complaint had consented to the act in question. However, to establish this defence, you must do more than simply state, “I thought he or she consented.” You’ll need to provide enough proof to back up your assertion so that your sincere but incorrect belief has at least an “air of reality” to it. You will not be successful with this defence if you cannot create a foundation to support your claim.

You must also show that reasonable steps were taken under the circumstances to ascertain whether the other individual involved had consented to the act at the core of the case and if you want to use mistaken belief as a defence. Passivity, silence, ambiguous responses, or the complainant’s failure to express no do not constitute consent. Consent must be properly communicated and maintained during the contact.

If you were irresponsible or intentionally blind about whether or not there was consent, neither the defence of consent nor the defence of honest but mistaken belief can be employed. You will be irresponsible or willfully oblivious to the issue of consent, for example, if the complaint does acts that suggest he or she withdrew consent or did not consent, but you ignored the change in decision.

Furthermore, none of these defences will work if you were simply too drunk to realise there was no consent. Your voluntary intoxication will not be considered a defence to your acts in this case. If either you or the other person involved in the act was intoxicated, then this becomes no excuse for the behaviours that happened thereafter.

Summary

As you can see, it remains relatively vague how you can defend yourself against false sexual assault charges, but the core of what you need to do remains clear. What you need to focus on is gathering evidence and building your case to present yourself and your side of the story in the best possible way. It’s highly recommended that you invest in the assistance of a legal expert or professional.

 

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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