Thursday, July 16, 2009

Royal Assent for Sexual Offences Bill

The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill yesterday received Royal Assent. The Bill replaces a complex mix of common law and statute with a clear legal framework that supports wider work to improve the justice system's response to sex crime.

The new legislation will:

* Provide for the first time a statutory definition of consent, as "free agreement", enshrined in the law

* Replace the common-law offence of rape with a broader statutory offence (which includes male rape)

* Introduce new statutory crimes, including specific offences of sexual assault by penetration and of voyeurism, and others targeting coercive sexual conduct such as the sending of sexually offensive emails or texts, and sexual exposure

* Enable Scottish law enforcement agencies to pursue anyone from Scotland who commits a sex crime under Scots law against someone under-18 abroad (including child pornography and child prostitution offences) regardless of the law in that country

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said ".. this Bill is simply one part of a wider package of measures that Government is taking forward to improve public safety and help victims - steps such as taking forward the recommendations from the Crown Office review of the investigation and prosecution of rape and sexual assault, and our support for Rape Crisis Scotland's campaign work."

Press Release Source The Scottish Government 15 July 2009


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