Advanced Search

Public Consultations

We want to hear your views about our prosecution policy and so we conduct consultations to help inform our policy making.

Find out about current consultations and read the results of past consultations

Sexual Offences

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 updated the law, much of which dated back to 1956.

The main provisions of the Act include the following:

  • Rape is widened to include oral penetration
  • Significant changes to the issue of consent
  • Specific offences relating to children under 13, 16 and 18
  • Offences to protect vulnerable persons with a mental disorder
  • Other miscellaneous offences
  • Strengthening the notification requirements and providing new civil preventative orders

Find out more about how we prosecute sexual offences

CPS issues public policy on sexual transmission of infection


After extensive consultation, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has today published a public policy statement and guidance to prosecutors to explain how it deals with cases involving the intentional or reckless sexual transmission of infection. To date 11 such cases have been prosecuted.

Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald QC, said: "Although these types of cases are rare, we are publishing this statement because we recognise the importance of consistent decision-making. It follows other public statements concerning our policies on how we handle certain types of cases. We hope that it provides clarity.

"People affected by the intentional or reckless sexual transmission of infection often face many difficulties in reporting the incident to the police and then supporting any prosecution at court that may follow.

"We have consulted clinicians, charities and community groups on the development of this policy and guidance. We have benefited substantially from listening to their views and concerns, and we have greatly appreciated their input."

The policy statement covers the Code for Crown Prosecutors and how it is applied in all cases; the offences that the CPS will consider in relation to cases of the intentional or reckless sexual transmission of infection and what the CPS needs to prove; the application of the public interest in such cases; and witness and victim care issues.

  1. To date, there have been ten convictions in England and Wales under Section 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 (OAPA), all based on the reckless transmission of HIV.
  2. Read the Policy for prosecuting cases involving the intentional or reckless sexual transmission of infection on this website.
  3. Read the Legal Guidance Intentional or reckless sexual transmission of infection on this website.
  4. This guidance applies to all infections which may be passed through sexual contact.
  5. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7710 6088.
  6. The Crown Prosecution Service is the Government Department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution;
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute;
    • Preparing cases for court;
    • Presentation of cases at court;

    The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 83.7% in 2006-2007. Further information can be found on this website.