Sexual Intercourse under Special Care

Sexual intercourse under special care involves the complainant being in the special care of the offender. In other words, the offender is in a position of authority.

Will I go to jail for Sexual Intercourse under Special Care?

Sexual intercourse with a young person between 16 and 18 under special care is a serious criminal offence. However, the maximum penalty depends on the age of the alleged victim at the time of the alleged offence. 

  • If the alleged victim was 16, the maximum penalty is 8 years
  • If the alleged victim was 17, the maximum penalty is 4 years 

Therefore, you can be sentenced to imprisonment if the circumstances of the offence are serious. This includes first time offenders. However, the length of time spent in custody will depend on the seriousness of the offence and the subjective circumstances of the offender.

In addition, it is possible to avoid jail in certain circumstances.

We’re here to help


    If I defend the charge, what must be proved?

    The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you:

    1. Had sexual intercourse with a person aged 16 or 17, and
    2. The sexual intercourse occurred in circumstances where the young person was under your special care

    Because they are under special care, the victim is unable to consent to sexual acts. Therefore, consent is not a relevant consideration.

    As a result, you will be found not guilty if the prosecution is unable to prove these elements.

    What is ‘Special Care’?

    The young person is taken to be under your special care if you are:

    • A parent, grandparent, step-parent, guardian or authorised carer of the victim
    • A teacher at the school where the victim attends
    • A custody officer and the victim is an inmate 
    • A health professional and the victim is their patient 
    • There is an established personal relationship with the victim through a religious, sporting or musical group

    What is ‘Sexual Intercourse’?

    For more information see our Sexual Assault page.

    We can help 

    Our experienced criminal lawyers are committed to helping you obtain the best possible outcome. This type of charge can take a long time to finalise before a court, either by trial or sentence. Our lawyers will be with you every step of the way.

    Contact us today on 0421 700 497 for a free initial consultation.