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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

Support for Victims and Witnesses

Being a victim or a witness to a crime is not easy, but, with your help, we work hard to bring offenders to justice. Throughout the justice process we will support you and treat you with dignity.

The aim of witness care units is to provide a single point of contact for Victims and Witnesses, minimising the stress of attending court and keeping  victims and witnesses up to date with any news in a way that is convenient to them.

Witnesses are essential to successful prosecutions and we are committed to making the process as straightforward as we can.

Read the fact sheet about witness care units

Find out more about being a witness

Fred Talbot convicted of indecent assault


Today at Manchester Minshull St Crown Court, Fred Talbot has been found guilty of two indecent assaults against two boys under the age of 16. The offences occurred in the 1970s when he was a qualified teacher at a boys' grammar school in Greater Manchester. He was acquitted on a further eight counts of indecent assault.

He will be sentenced on 13th March at Manchester Minshull St Crown Court.

Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor, CPS North West Area said: "As a teacher, Fred Talbot was in a position of trust and responsibility. Parents and pupils saw him as a popular, likeable teacher who was willing to give up his time to take children away on school trips. In fact he used those situations as opportunities to sexually assault two teenage boys who should have been safe in his care. The offences he committed were a gross betrayal of the trust placed in him.

"The victims, and other witnesses in the case, have shown real courage and resolve in reporting what happened to the police and giving evidence during this trial. Because of their courage Fred Talbot has today been brought to justice for these crimes.

"I hope that these verdicts will help them in some way and I hope they will give other victims of sexual abuse the confidence to come forward knowing that they will be taken seriously and treated with sensitivity."


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. 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.
  3. At 31 March 2014 we employed a workforce of approximately 6237 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2226 prosecutors and 3629 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:
  4. The CPS, together with 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.