Indecent treatment of a child

Indecent treatment of a child refers to any touching of or “dealing with” a person under the age of 16 years in a manner which is “indecent”. There is no legislative definition of “indecent” and it is generally taken to mean any conduct which offends against community standards.

In Queensland, the offence of indecent treatment of a child extends beyond touching. It includes procuring a child to commit an indecent act, permitting oneself to be indecently dealt with by a child, exposing a child to an indecent act by any person (including pornography or any other indecent document or object) and taking an indecent visual image of a child.

The maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment if the child is aged between 12 and 16 years. If the child was under 12 years of age, the maximum penalty is 20 years imprisonment.

If you are convicted of indecent treatment of a child, the Penalties & Sentences Act states that a sentence of actual imprisonment must be imposed, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances include the age of the child, the nature of the contact and the accused’s personal circumstances such as early life experiences, any health and/or psychiatric condition, likelihood of re-offending and remorse.

A person is not guilty of the offence of indecent treatment of a child if:

- The alleged conduct was not indecent; and/or
- They did not commit the alleged conduct; and/or
- The alleged conduct was accidental; and/or
- They have an alibi.

Defending a sex offence requires specialist legal advice and advocacy. The tactical decisions that you make early on may have a major impact on the overall outcome.

Julia Jasper and Rebecca Fogerty have extensive experience representing clients charged with indecent treatment and other sexual offences. Some of the outcomes we have achieved for clients charged with indecent treatment include:

- Holding successful negotiations with the prosecution to have all charges withdrawn;
- Successfully achieving the cross-examination of the complainant at the committal stage
- Achieving not guilty verdicts on all counts in jury trials;
- Superior sentence advocacy resulting in multiple clients receiving a non-custodial sentence;
- Persuading the sentencing Magistrate or Judge to not record a conviction.