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Understanding Indecent Treatment

Indecent treatment is a serious offense that involves adults engaging in overtly sexual acts with, or in the presence of, a child under the age of 16. Someone guilty of indecent treatment of a child is defined by the Criminal Code 1899 as: 

1. Any person who:

Indecent treatment often encompasses non-penetrative actions, such as touching a child’s genitals inappropriately or coercing or forcing a child to touch an adult’s genitals. It may also involve an adult showing a child their own genitals or exposing them to explicit material. 

In Queensland, indecent treatment is a serious criminal offence, and indecent treatment charges can incur hefty sentences. It is crucial to be aware of the gravity of these charges and to seek professional legal representation from professionals like Rana Lawyers to navigate the complexities of such cases.

Penalties for Indecent Treatment

Convictions for indecent treatment can result in significant legal penalties. The severity of these penalties depends on various factors, including the specific circumstances of the case, the nature of the offence, and the court’s discretion.

The sentencing and charges vary, and there are certain aggravating circumstances in regard to the indecent treatment charge, as outlined in the Criminal Code 1899:

2. If the child is of or above the age of 12 years, the offender is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.

3. If the child is under the age of 12 years, the offender is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 20 years.

4. If the child is, to the knowledge of the offender, his or her lineal descendant or if the offender is the guardian of the child or, for the time being, has the child under his or her care, the offender is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 20 years.

5. If the offence is alleged to have been committed in respect of a child of or above the age of 12 years, it is a defence to prove that the accused person believed, on reasonable grounds, that the child was of or above the age of 16 years.

6. If the offence is alleged to have been committed with the circumstance of aggravation mentioned in subsection (4A) , it is a defence to the circumstance of aggravation to prove that the accused person believed on reasonable grounds that the child was not a person with an impairment of the mind.

Seeking legal counsel from experienced professionals like us at Rana Lawyers is essential to navigating the complexities and building a strong defence unique to your specific situation. We can help you assess the potential penalties you may face and work diligently to secure the best possible outcome for your case.

Proof of Indecent Treatment

To prosecute an indecent treatment charge, several key elements must be established beyond reasonable doubt. Here’s a breakdown of what needs to be proven:

1. Dealing with the complainant

The prosecution must demonstrate that the defendant “dealt with” the complainant. This involves any form of interaction, including but not limited to physical touch. Consent from the complainant is irrelevant in this context. It must also be proven that it was specifically the defendant who dealt with the complainant.

2. Indecency of the dealing

The act must be deemed ‘indecent’, a term reflecting societal standards of decency. Factors like the relationship between the parties, their ages, the nature of their interaction, and any sexual connotation of the act are considered.

3. Unlawfulness of the act 

The act must be unlawful, not authorised, justified, or excused by law. Consent, again, is not a valid defence.

4. Age of the complainant

The complainant must be proven to be under the age stipulated by the law (either 16 or 12 years old, as applicable).

Aggravating circumstances

Additional aggravating circumstances that might need to be proved depend on the specific circumstances of the case. These include: 


If charged, the defendant must be proven to be the legal guardian of the complainant.

Defendant’s care

The defendant must have had the complainant under their care at the time of the incident.

Lineal descendant

The complainant must be a direct descendant of the defendant.

Impairment of the mind

If relevant, it must be shown that the complainant had an impairment of the mind.

Proving an indecent treatment charge, requires a multifaceted approach to demonstrate the defendant’s actions were indecent, unlawful, and, when relevant, met specific aggravating criteria.

Possible Defences for Your Case

In Australian law, there are several defences that could be applicable to a charge of indecent treatment of a child, including but not limited to:

Additional defences, based on broader principles of criminal law and specific to Australian legal context, may include:

It’s important to note that the applicability and success of these defences depend on the specific circumstances of each case. Legal advice from experienced criminal lawyers such as Rana Lawyers is crucial in assessing and applying these defences effectively. So don’t hesitate to contact us – it’s better not to leave it too late.

Trust Rana Lawyers

In cases involving indecent treatment, the importance of legal representation cannot be overstated. Your future and reputation hang in the balance, and the intricacies of the legal process demand expert guidance. A skilled criminal lawyer can help you navigate the complexities, protect your rights, and build a strong defence tailored to your specific circumstances.

When you choose Rana Lawyers, you’re selecting a legal team with decades of experience in trials and adversarial work. Our extensive track record in handling criminal cases, including those involving indecent treatment, is a testament to our commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients.

At Rana Lawyers, we understand the gravity of indecent treatment charges and the challenges they present. We stand as your trusted partners, dedicated to safeguarding your rights and vigorously defending your case. Don’t face these charges alone; trust Rana Lawyers to provide the professional legal support and advocacy you need to secure the best possible outcome.

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