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CRIMINAL LAW CONSOLIDATION ACT 1935 - SECT 50

50—Persistent sexual abuse of child

        (1)         An adult who maintains an unlawful sexual relationship with a child is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for life.

        (2)         An "unlawful sexual relationship" is a relationship in which an adult engages in 2 or more unlawful sexual acts with or towards a child over any period.

        (3)         For an adult to be convicted of an unlawful sexual relationship offence, the trier of fact must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the evidence establishes that an unlawful sexual relationship existed.

        (4)         However—

            (a)         the prosecution is not required to allege the particulars of any unlawful sexual act that would be necessary if the act were charged as a separate offence; and

            (b)         the trier of fact is not required to be satisfied of the particulars of any unlawful sexual act that it would have to be satisfied of if the act were charged as a separate offence, but must be satisfied as to the general nature or character of those acts; and

            (c)         if the trier of fact is a jury, the members of the jury are not required to agree on which unlawful sexual acts constitute the unlawful sexual relationship.

        (5)         The prosecution is required to allege the particulars of the period of time over which the unlawful sexual relationship existed.

        (6)         This section extends to a relationship that existed wholly or partly before the commencement of this section and to unlawful sexual acts that occurred before the commencement of this section.

        (7)         A person may be charged on a single indictment with, and convicted of and punished for, both—

            (a)         an offence of maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship with a child; and

            (b)         1 or more sexual offences committed by the person against the same child during the alleged period of the unlawful sexual relationship.

        (8)         Except as provided by subsection (7)—

            (a)         a person who has been convicted or acquitted of an unlawful sexual relationship offence in relation to a child cannot be convicted of a sexual offence in relation to the same child if the occasion on which the sexual offence is alleged to have occurred is during the period over which the person was alleged to have committed the unlawful sexual relationship offence; and

            (b)         a person who has been convicted or acquitted of a sexual offence in relation to a child cannot be convicted of an unlawful sexual relationship offence in relation to the same child if the sexual offence of which the person has been convicted or acquitted is one of the unlawful sexual acts that are alleged to constitute the unlawful sexual relationship.

        (9)         A person who has been convicted or acquitted of a predecessor offence in relation to a child cannot be convicted of an unlawful sexual relationship offence in relation to the same child if the period of the alleged unlawful sexual relationship includes any part of the period during which the person was alleged to have committed the predecessor offence.

        (10)         For the purposes of this section, a person ceases to be regarded as having been convicted for an offence if the conviction is quashed or set aside.

        (11)         A court sentencing a person for an offence against this section is to sentence the person consistently with the verdict of the trier of fact but having regard to the general nature or character of the unlawful sexual acts determined by the sentencing court to have been proved beyond a reasonable doubt (and, for the avoidance of doubt, the sentencing court need not ask any question of the trier of fact directed to ascertaining the general nature or character of the unlawful sexual acts determined by the trier of fact found to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt).

        (12)         In this section—

"adult" means a person of or over the age of 18 years;

"child" means—

            (a)         a person who is under 17 years of age; or

            (b)         a person who is under 18 years of age if, during the period of the relationship that is the subject of the alleged unlawful sexual relationship offence, the adult in the relationship is in a position of authority in relation to the person who is under 18 years of age;

"predecessor offence" means an offence of persistent sexual exploitation of a child, or of persistent sexual abuse of a child, as in force under a previous enactment;

"sexual offence" means—

            (a)         an offence against Division 11 (other than sections 59 and 61) or sections 63B, 66, 69 or 72; or

            (b)         an attempt to commit, or assault with intent to commit, any of those offences; or

            (c)         a substantially similar offence against a previous enactment;

"unlawful sexual act" means any act that constitutes, or would constitute (if particulars of the time and place at which the act took place were sufficiently particularised), a sexual offence;

"unlawful sexual relationship offence" means an offence against subsection (1).

        (13)         For the purposes of this section, a person is in "a position of authority in relation to a child if—

            (a)         the person is a teacher and the child is a pupil of the teacher or of a school at which the teacher works; or

            (b)         the person is a parent, step-parent, guardian or foster parent of the child or the de facto partner or domestic partner of a parent, step-parent, guardian or foster parent of the child; or

            (c)         the person provides religious, sporting, musical or other instruction to the child; or

            (d)         the person is a religious official or spiritual leader (however described and including lay members and whether paid or unpaid) in a religious or spiritual group attended by the child; or

            (e)         the person is a health professional or social worker providing professional services to the child; or

            (f)         the person is responsible for the care of the child and the child has a cognitive impairment; or

            (g)         the person is employed or providing services in a correctional institution (within the meaning of the Correctional Services Act 1982 ) or a training centre (within the meaning of the Young Offenders Act 1993 ), or is a person engaged in the administration of those Acts, acting in the course of the person's duties in relation to the child; or

            (ga)         the person is employed or providing services in a licensed children's residential facility (within the meaning of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 ), or a residential care facility or other facility established under section 36 of the Family and Community Services Act 1972 , or is a person engaged in the administration of those Acts, acting in the course of the person's duties in relation to the child; or

            (h)         the person is an employer of the child or other person who has the authority to determine significant aspects of the child's terms and conditions of employment or to terminate the child's employment (whether the child is being paid in respect of that employment or is working in a voluntary capacity).



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