Author Clare Ringland
Published January 2012
Report Type Bureau Brief No. 72
Subject Prisons and prisoners; Sentencing; Sexual assault and violence
Keywords sexual assault, penalty, prison, sentence length

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To describe the penalties imposed on adult offenders convicted of sexual assault (not including child sexual assault).


The most common penalty imposed on an offender convicted of sexual assault was a prison sentence. Prison penalties were imposed on 85 per cent of offenders convicted of an offence of aggravated sexual assault, with an average aggregate sentence of 78 months, and an average minimum term of 48 months. As the number of prior convictions increased the proportion of offenders given a prison sentence increased. For example, of those convicted of aggravated sexual assault offences, 75 per cent of those with no prior convictions received a prison sentence, while those with three or more prior convictions were almost guaranteed to receive a prison sentence (97%).

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