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Indecent assault is an offence of aggravated assault in some common law-based jurisdictions. It is characterised as a sex crime and has significant overlap with offences referred to as sexual assault.

England and WalesEdit

Indecent assault was a broadly defined offence under sections 14 and 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956. It was superseded by the new offence of sexual assault under section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Other aspects of the actus reus were merged into other offences, including rape (section 1), whose scope was expanded. Individuals may still be prosecuted for indecent assault under the 1956 Act for offences committed before the new law came into force.

The mens rea and actus reus of indecent assault were similar to that for common law assault and/or battery. However, there was an additional element of "indecent circumstances". "Indecent circumstances" were present if a "reasonable person" would believe it indecent, whatever the belief of the accused.


In India it is punishable under section 354 of the Indian Penal Code.


In New South Wales, the offence of indecent assault no longer exists, as of December 2018. It has been replaced by the offence of "Sexual Touching" (

There is now no requirement under the new Act to have a "sexual connotation" to an Offence.