Sexual Offences Act 2003

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Sexual Offences Act 2003

By | March 2010
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One of the driving forces behind the creation of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 was the low conviction rate on rapists. In 1999 9,008 rape cases were reported and only 1 in 13 resulted in a conviction . Within this essay I will discuss whether or not the changes introduced by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 add greater clarity to the area of rape. In order to fully understand this question one must first define rape. The standard definition of rape is “unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman who at the time of intercourse does not consent .” I say standard because with each Sexual Act the definition of rape has changed in some way. When rape was first introduced as a statutory offence in the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 it simply stated that ‘it is a felony to rape a woman .’ The Sexual Offences Act 2003 now defines rape as the ‘intentional penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person who does not consent .’ Each Sexual Offences Act attempts to further clarify the area of rape. The main change in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 has to deal with the definition and the area of consent. The Sexual Offences Act of 1956 elaborates to a great extent on the area of rape; it goes more in depth where rape is concerned than the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.The Sexual Offences Act 1956 states: “Rape of a man or woman

(1)It is an offence for a man to rape a woman or another man. (2)A man commits rape if—
(a)he has sexual intercourse with a person (whether vaginal or anal) who at the time of the intercourse does not consent to it; and (b)at the time he knows that the person does not consent to the intercourse or is reckless as to whether that person consents to it. (3)A man also commits rape if he induces a married woman to have sexual intercourse with him by impersonating her husband. (4)Subsection (2) applies for the purpose of any enactment. ” Like Offences Against the Person Act 1861, this act also failed to clarify or to give further direction...

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