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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

Dating site rapist convicted

02/03/2016

A man accused of raping women who he met on a dating site has been convicted of five counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and another count of sexual assault.

Jason Lawrance targeted his victims on Match.com, encouraged them to talk to him offline and agreed to meet them.

He raped his first victim in 2011. Having met her a few times, he tricked her into getting into a van with him, drove to a dark country lane and raped her in the van. He went on to sexually assault a woman in her car and raped or attempted to rape others in hotel rooms or in their own homes. In each case, these women were prepared to meet him, but did not want sex with him at the time.

Lawrance's pattern of behaviour was eventually halted when one of his victims reported to the police that he had raped her. The subsequent police investigation, in particular into his activity on Match.com, revealed evidence of offences against seven victims. He was tried and convicted at Derby Crown Court, despite maintaining his claim that everything had been consensual.

Sue Matthews, Senior Crown Prosecutor at the CPS East Midlands rape and serious sexual offences team said: "Jason Lawrance is a dangerous sexual predator. He has gone from victim to victim, targeting them through online dating sites.

"Nobody should feel that meeting people through a dating site means that they are consenting to any sexual activity. If a person does not consent to sexual activity and the perpetrator does not reasonably believe they are consenting, that is an offence, regardless of how the victim meets the perpetrator, or how well they know each other.

"The victims in this case have shown real courage in telling the court about their ordeal. It is their evidence that has made Lawrance face the consequences of his actions. I would like to thank them all for coming forward and giving evidence."

Jason Lawrance will be sentenced on 3 March 2016.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  3. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  4. At 31 March 2015 we employed a workforce of approximately 5,895 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2,255 prosecutors and 3,288 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk.
  5. The CPS, together with police representatives (formerly ACPO) and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.