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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

Support for Victims and Witnesses

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

The aim of witness care units is to provide a single point of contact for Victims and Witnesses, minimising the stress of attending court and keeping  victims and witnesses up to date with any news in a way that is convenient to them.

Witnesses are essential to successful prosecutions and we are committed to making the process as straightforward as we can.

Read the fact sheet about witness care units

Find out more about being a witness

Three men jailed for the rape of a woman in 20-hour ordeal - case demonstrates need for context when considering issue of consent


Three men have today [Friday, 13 February] been jailed for a combined total of 18 years for the rape and sexual assault of a 23-year-old woman.

In a protracted attack in a Lincoln flat, Michael Armitage, 42, Rafal Segiet, 40, and Pawal Chudzicki, 47, subjected their victim to an ordeal which lasted 20 hours. Today they were each sentenced to six years' imprisonment at Lincoln Crown Court.

The issue central to the prosecution case was that the victim lacked the capacity to consent to the sexual activity. The victim, who had been drinking, was taken by the men in a taxi to the flat where the attacks took place on the night of 27 October 2012. She had been out with friends but had become separated from them.

The trial, which began on 5 January 2015 at Lincoln Crown Court, was suspended for a number of days after the trial judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to put before a jury on the basis that a lack of memory does not amount to a lack of capacity to consent.

The prosecution sought a ruling from the Court of Appeal on the evidential sufficiency of the case, arguing that the full context needed to be taken into consideration when considering the issue of consent, including mobile phone footage taken by one of the defendants and blood tests demonstrating a high level alcohol in the victim's blood. The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the prosecution and the trial continued.

Lawrence English, CPS East Midlands Senior District Crown Prosecutor, said: "This was rape as it was clear the woman was in no state to consent to sex. While it is, of course, true that lack of memory, on its own, does not prove lack of consent, the context in this case showed that this victim was taken advantage of because she was incapacitated, and that she could not have consented to sexual activity.

"It is against the law to engage in sexual activity with someone who is clearly unable, through drink, to give their consent. We are pleased that the Court of Appeal ruled in the way it did and the case proceeded to the jury for a verdict.

"The victim in this case has shown tremendous courage in this case. She suffered an horrific ordeal because of the actions of these three men and we are satisfied to see justice has been served."

Further Information: On 28 January 2015, the Director of Public Prosecution, Alison Saunders, launched toolkits for police and prosecutors on the issue of consent. For the first time, the toolkits spell out situations where a potential victim may have been unable to consent due to incapacity through drink or drugs, for example.


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 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.
  3. At 31 March 2014 we employed a workforce of approximately 6237 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2226 prosecutors and 3629 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:
  4. 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.