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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

Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

Find out more about private prosecutions

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

Four men and a woman sentenced for child sexual exploitation


Four men and one woman have today (April 28) been given prison sentences of between three and 15 years, for offences involving child sexual exploitation.

Brothers, Christopher, 23, Matthew, 25, and Shane Whiteley, 30 were found guilty at an earlier hearing, of multiple sexual offences including rape, sexual assault against a child under 13 and conspiracy to arrange child prostitution and theft.

Appearing alongside them at Sheffield Crown Court were Amanda Spencer, 26, and Taleb Bapir, 39, who were respectively found guilty of four counts of arranging child prostitution and rape.
The brothers and their associates targeted vulnerable young girls in the Sheffield area between 2005 and 2012.

The girls were given drink, drugs and gifts, before being forced to have sex with members of the group and strangers.  They were also threatened and subjected to violence.

Peter Mann, from the CPS, said:

"These defendants cynically targeted and sexually exploited young and vulnerable girls. The suffering the victims must have endured is hard to comprehend.

"This case was a complex one. With the victims' assistance the CPS was able to build a strong prosecution case against these defendants, resulting in today's sentences."


Notes to Editors

  1. Peter Mann is Head of the Complex Casework Unit at CPS Yorkshire and Humberside.
  2. Sentences:
    • Christopher Whiteley: 15 years in prison.
    • Taleb Bapir: 10 years in prison.
    • Shane Whiteley: 8 years in prison.
    • Matthew Whiteley:7 years in prison.
    • Amanda Spencer: 3 years in prison
  3. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief -
  4. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233