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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

Paedophile who targeted vulnerable communities abroad to abuse children sentenced


Richard Huckle was sentenced today to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of over 23 years for 71 counts of child sexual abuse.

The 30-year-old targeted communities abroad to carry out the abuse on young children, including multiple rapes.

Anthony Hill, International Justice and Organised Crime prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "It is hard to put into words the sheer depravity of this case. For almost nine years, Richard Huckle subjected at least 23 children, some of them very young, to the most horrifying abuse imaginable.

"He deliberately targeted and groomed vulnerable communities abroad to gain their trust.

"He took photographs of the abuse to upload on the dark web to share worldwide. He created a score card where he gave himself points for different types of abuse and wrote a paedophile manual giving tips on how to abuse victims and avoid detection.

"Borders are not a barrier to justice and the CPS worked closely with the NCA to painstakingly review all of the evidence from the internet, his computers and cameras. The strength of our evidence led to him pleading guilty to 71 charges.

"Due to the determination of the CPS and investigating authorities, this dangerous man has been brought to justice and is no longer a risk to children."

Additional information

Richard Huckle identified and targeted an impoverished community in Malaysia with the specific intention of raping and abusing children within that community.

Huckle pleaded guilty to 71 counts committed over the course of nine years.

This included 13 offences of rape, nine offences involving penetrative sexual activity, 34 offences of sexual activity or assault and the taking of very many indecent photographs and videos.

Sentencing details

Richard Huckle was sentenced today to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff 23 years and 242 days.


Notes to Editors

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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.