Indecent assault
Indecent assault is an offence of aggravated assault in many jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

s. It is characterised as a sex crime.

Indecent assault was an offence (strictly two offences) in England and Wales under sections 14(1) and 15(1) the Sexual Offences Act 1956
Sexual Offences Act 1956
The Sexual Offences Act 1956 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that consolidated the English criminal law relating to sexual offences between 1957 and 2004. It was mostly repealed by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which replaced it, but sections 33 to 37 still survive. The 2003 Act...

. It was abolished and replaced by the similar offence of sexual assault
Sexual assault
Sexual assault is an assault of a sexual nature on another person, or any sexual act committed without consent. Although sexual assaults most frequently are by a man on a woman, it may involve any combination of two or more men, women and children....

 under section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003
Sexual Offences Act 2003
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland that was passed in 2003 and became law on 1 May 2004.It replaced older sexual offences laws with more specific and explicit wording...


It was defined as any unwanted sexual behaviour or touching which is forced upon people against their will.

The meaning of indecency depends upon prevailing views of what is unacceptable behaviour (Law reform Commission 1987). This might include behaviour such as forcing someone to watch pornography
Pornography or porn is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction.Pornography may use any of a variety of media, ranging from books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video,...

 or masturbation
Masturbation refers to sexual stimulation of a person's own genitals, usually to the point of orgasm. The stimulation can be performed manually, by use of objects or tools, or by some combination of these methods. Masturbation is a common form of autoeroticism...

. This is also related to physical attack cases, including but not explicit to unwanted oral sex
Oral sex
Oral sex is sexual activity involving the stimulation of the genitalia of a sex partner by the use of the mouth, tongue, teeth or throat. Cunnilingus refers to oral sex performed on females while fellatio refer to oral sex performed on males. Anilingus refers to oral stimulation of a person's anus...


The mens rea
Mens rea
Mens rea is Latin for "guilty mind". In criminal law, it is viewed as one of the necessary elements of a crime. The standard common law test of criminal liability is usually expressed in the Latin phrase, actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, which means "the act does not make a person guilty...

 and actus reus
Actus reus
Actus reus, sometimes called the external element or the objective element of a crime, is the Latin term for the "guilty act" which, when proved beyond a reasonable doubt in combination with the mens rea, "guilty mind", produces criminal liability in the common law-based criminal law jurisdictions...

of indecent assault are essentially as for common law assault and/or battery. However, there is the additional element of 'indecent circumstances'. 'Indecent circumstances' are currently identified by the following:
  • An offence is indecent if a 'reasonable person' would believe it indecent, whatever the belief of the accused.
  • An offence is not indecent if a 'reasonable person' would believe it not indecent, whatever the belief of the accused.

If the offence cannot be assigned to either preceding category, then it will be indecent if it can be shown that the accused thought it indecent.

In India, it is punishable under section 354 IPC.
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