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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

Sex Offender Sentenced To 27 Years Imprisonment


A sex offender who carried out attacks on a total of four women and girls over a period of more than thirty years has been sentenced to 27 years' imprisonment today (1 March 2017).

Michael Dunn, 57, from Redcar, was sentenced at Teesside Crown Court after being found guilty of 10 counts of rape, three of false imprisonment and three of indecent assault.

During his trial, the court heard how Dunn built a cavity behind his fridge to hide one young girl, who had run away from home.

Gale Gilchrist, from the CPS said: "Michael Dunn is a very dangerous sexual predator.

"He was a violent and controlling man towards each of his victims, using them for sex whenever he wanted to and physically attacking them when they would not comply.

"This has been an incredibly complex case and I am indebted to the significant work conducted by police during the investigation. Through their diligence and also the bravery of Michael Dunn's victims, our prosecutors have been able to build a robust case resulting in today's significant sentence.

"One cannot imagine the horrors endured by Michael Dunn's victims, but I sincerely hope that this outcome brings a measure of comfort to each of them."


Notes to Editors

  1. Gale Gilchrist is acting Head of the Crown Court Unit for CPS North East
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief -
  3. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233