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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

Jeremy Forrest sentencing


The Sussex schoolteacher who fled to France with one of his pupils has today (Friday 21 June) pleaded guilty to an additional five charges of sexual activity with a child.

Jeremy Forrest was convicted yesterday (Thursday 20 June) by a jury at Lewes Crown Court of abducting a child, after taking the girl to France.

Today, he pleaded guilty to the additional charges, all of which occurred between July and September 2012.

Nigel Pilkington, Head of the CPS South East Complex Casework Unit said: "These additional charges concerning sexual activity with a child were an important part of the prosecution case that the CPS was determined to bring before the courts. This has not been a straightforward legal process, as it has involved complex legal proceedings in both France and at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

"We are grateful to the French legal authorities for their considerable assistance in this matter.

"Forrest has today been sentenced for the full extent of his criminality, thereby sparing his victim and her family from having to go through another trial. We hope that, with today's sentence and the conclusion of legal proceedings, she and her family can now 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
  2. The DPP has set out what the public can expect from the CPS in the Core Quality Standards document published in March 2010.
  3. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three specialised national divisions: Central Fraud Division, Special Crime and Counter Terrorism, and Organised Crime. In 2011-2012, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Department of Health (DoH) prosecution functions were transferred to the CPS. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales.
  4. In 2010-2011 the CPS employed around 7,745 people and prosecuted 957,881 cases with 116,898 of these in the Crown Court, and the remaining 840,983 in the magistrates' courts. Of those we prosecuted, 93,106 defendants were convicted in the Crown Court and 727,491 in the magistrates' courts. In total 86% of cases prosecuted resulted in a conviction. Further information can be found on the CPS website.
  5. 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.