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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

The Role of The Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, we are responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police
  • determining any charges in more serious or complex cases
  • preparing cases for court
  • presenting cases at court

Find out more about the role of the Crown Prosecution Service

Rochdale grooming defendant Shabir Ahmed guilty of 30 rapes


Following the conviction of Rochdale grooming defendant Shabir Ahmed on 30 charges of rape, Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West Area, said: "Shabir Ahmed has been convicted today of the most appalling sexual abuse against a young girl. He subjected her to years of rape throughout her childhood from when she was very young, abusing the power that he had as an adult in the worst way possible.

"She has shown courage in coming forward and giving evidence at court against him, and today the jury have found him guilty of all the charges. I hope that this outcome will help her to continue to rebuild her life.

"With today's verdicts the outstanding criminal proceedings against him are concluded, and Shabir Ahmed can now be named and identified for the first time as one of the defendants who was found guilty last month of sexual exploitation of young girls in Rochdale.

"He has shown in this trial, as he did in that earlier trial, that he accepts no responsibility and shows no remorse for the sexual offences he has committed against children. He is a sexual predator, who targeted his victims because of their youth and their vulnerability. Thankfully he will now be spending many years behind bars where he can no longer present a danger to children."