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 an ‘indecent’ manner.

There is no legislative definition of ‘indecent’, but it’s generally understood as any conduct that’s offensive by community standards.

In Queensland, the offence of indecent treatment of a child extends beyond touching, including:

  • 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)
  • taking an indecent visual image of a child.


The maximum penalty is 14 years of imprisonment if the child is aged between 12 and 16 years.

If the child is under 12 years of age, the maximum penalty is 20 years of imprisonment.

If you’re convicted for indecent treatment of a child, 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
  • the accused’s personal circumstances, such as early life experiences, any health and/or psychiatric conditions, likelihood of re-offending and remorse.


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

  • the alleged conduct was not indecent
  • they did not commit the alleged conduct
  • the alleged conduct was accidental
  • they have an alibi.

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