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Act of Indecency with Child under the age of 10 years

Streeton Criminal Lawyers Sydney


An act of indecency with or towards a child under the age of 10 years is an offence under section 61O(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). The maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment.

This charge may be dealt with in the Local Court unless either the accused person or the prosecutor elects to have the matter heard in the District Court. If the charge is heard in the Local Court the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 2 years and/or a fine of $11,000.


To prove an act of indecency with a child under the age of 10 years, the prosecution must show beyond reasonable doubt that:

  • A person committed an act;
  • That act was indecent;
  • The act was done towards another person;
  • That person was under the age of 10 years.

For the offence to be proved it does not require that the accused be in the immediate physical presence of the victim: R v Barrass [2005] NSWCCA 131.

What constitutes an “act of indecency”?

An indecent act is one which right minded persons would consider to be contrary to community standards of decency. The surrounding circumstances of the act may be considered by the court: Eades v Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW) [2010] NSWCA 241.


You may have a defence if:

  • You did not commit the act;
  • The act was not indecent;
  • The act was not done towards another person.


Upon conviction, a person is liable to a penalty of imprisonment. Accordingly, this is a serious offence and upon conviction it is likely that the judge or magistrate would impose a sentence of imprisonment. In an appropriate case a lesser sentence may be considered.

The sentencing magistrate or judge will consider the objective seriousness of the offence, whether you pleaded guilty to the offence, whether you have prior convictions, your subjective circumstances such as employment and health and whether remorse has been shown.

For the full range of penalties that can be imposed, see our Sentencing Options page.