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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

Crimes involving young people

Young people as victims and witnesses

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

Find out more about how we support young victims and witnesses

Youth crime

The Crown Prosecution Service acts in partnership with other agencies such as the police, the youth justice board, children's services, courts and youth offending teams. Each area of the CPS has a youth justice specialist who oversees the prosecution of youth crime in their area.

Find out more about how we prosecute youth crime

Carer sentenced for rape and sexual offences on children


Michael Ponzo, 20, from Swindon was today sentenced at Swindon Crown Court to two offences of rape, 13 sexual assaults on a child under the age of 13, and 24 offences relating to indecent images of children. Most of the offences were against five children all aged under 13 and took place between 2011 and 2015. He was sentenced to a total of 10 years' imprisonment with an extended licence of 5 years.

Mary-Ruth Johnson, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Wessex Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) Unit said: "Michael Ponzo has committed every parent's worst nightmare. He raped a child, sexually assaulted children and took images of his abuse. He abused the trust parents had placed in him to look after their children. The parents of three of the children had contacted him via a childcare website as they were looking for either a carer or baby-sitter.

"All the child victims in this case were vulnerable as they were very young when the offences took place.

"The impact of Michael Ponzo's crimes has been devastating and now the children, and their families, have to recover from this terrible episode.

"CPS Wessex RASSO Unit will continue to work relentlessly with the police to bring such offenders to court. Our thoughts are with the victims and the parents in this case. We hope that they will find closure and that they will be able to move on with their lives."


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
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  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:
  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.