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Sexual Offences Act 2003

Section 3: Sexual assault

12.Section 3 makes it an offence for a person (A) intentionally to touch sexually another person (B) without that person’s consent, if he does not reasonably believe that B consents. What is said in the note to section 1 about whether a belief in consent is reasonable also applies here. The meaning of “touching” is explained at section 79(8); “sexual” is defined at section 78. The effect of these sections is that the offence covers a wide range of behaviour including, for example, rubbing up against someone's private parts through the person’s clothes for sexual gratification. Subsection (3) provides that sections 75 and 76 apply to this offence. Sections 75 and 76 deal with evidential and conclusive presumptions about consent.

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