Section 47 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) sets out the statutory offence of indecent act with, or in the presence of, a child under the age of 16 years. In Victoria, the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment. Like all sexual offences, it is a serious offence. A finding of guilt in relation to an offence of this nature will result in registration on the Sex Offenders Register.
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To prove this offence, the prosecution must establish the following beyond reasonable doubt:
- That the accused committed an indecent act (or was a party to the commission of an indecent act);
- That the accused committed the act with or in the presence of the complainant;
- That the accused did so wilfully; and
- That the victim was under the age of 16 years.
The phrase ‘indecent act with’ or ‘in the presence of’ means indecent behaviour with, against or directed towards, a complainant only dealing with indecent acts involving children under the age of 16 years.