Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992

The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992 (c. 34) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to make provision with respect to anonymity in connection with allegations of, and criminal proceedings relating to, certain sexual offences.
Citation1992 c. 34
Territorial extentUnited Kingdom
Royal assent16 March 1992
Commencement1 August 1992[1]
Other legislation
AmendsSexual Offences Act
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Text of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from

The Act provides for the lifelong anonymity of the victims and alleged victims of sexual offences, by prohibiting the publishing or broadcast of their identity, or information that might make their identity apparent, including their address or picture.

Section 1 of the Act establishes the prohibition. Section 2 sets out the sexual offences covered, and has been amended since, including due to the wholesale redefinition of sexual offences in England and Wales by the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Section 3 allows judges to waive anonymity on application from defendants and appellants if this is needed to help witnesses come forward or to avoid prejudicing their case, or if it is in the public interest.[2] This provision is very rarely used, though some victims waive their own anonymity to talk publicly about their cases.[3]

The Act was passed to address perceived deficiencies in an earlier and weaker form of identity protection for victims in cases of rape only, which had been established by the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1976.[4] Convictions under the Act, generally resulting in fines, occur with some frequency, especially in high-profile cases where members of the public less familiar with the law than the press or broadcast media name accusers on social media,[5] though charges are also brought against professional journalists.[6][3] In some cases, such as where abuse has taken place within a family, the media may be unable to report the name of the offender, because this combined with details of the offence may indirectly reveal the identity of the victim.[3]


  1. ^ The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992 (Commencement) Order 1992
  2. ^ S. 1–3, as enacted
  3. ^ a b c Vale, Jo (15 March 2016). "Law column: Anonymity for victims of sexual offences reaffirmed". HoldtheFrontPage. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Sexual Offences Act 1992". University of Kent. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  5. ^ Harris, Lyndon (21 June 2013). "Anonymity for complainants in sex cases". UK Criminal Law Blog. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  6. ^ Parveen, Nazia (17 January 2019). "BBC executive on trial after Rotherham sex abuse victim's name revealed". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 January 2019.

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