GQS Solicitors

Historical Sexual Offences

What does ‘historic sexual offences’ really mean?

Historic sexual allegations are simply allegations about sexual offences when the offence is prosecuted a long time after the alleged incident.

What about the delay in the complainant going to the police?

Delay in making an allegation of historic sexual offences and bringing the matter to the attention of the police will not be regarded as being indicative of a false allegation. In law, there are no time bars restricting a complainant from bringing an allegation of sexual abuse.

However, we will always consider if it is possible in specific cases, for an application to be made to the court, that due to the passage of time, it is no longer possible for the accused to have a fair trial.

Running a pro-active defence to allegations of historic sexual offences

Our specialist historic sex abuse solicitors will plan a defence strategy that is pro-active. We will consider any relevant applications for disclosure of relevant paperwork such as the complainant’s social services records, employment details and details of any previous allegations made.

These documents will not necessarily be voluntarily provided to the defence, but may need to be tenaciously sought after. Our specialist historic sex abuse solicitors have the experience and expertise to ensure that your case is appropriately prepared for trial.

Are there evidential issues when defending allegations of historic sexual offences?

When allegations of historic sexual offences are made, there are often evidential issues. There is unlikely to be any forensic evidence and little by way of corroboration. Often it is, therefore, the complainant’s word against yours. It is therefore essential to be represented by expert historic sex abuse solicitors.

What is the relevant law in relation to historical sexual abuse allegations?

If you are charged with historical sexual abuse, it is likely the charge will be brought under the Sexual Offences Act 1956. If the alleged incident is said to have occurred after May 1st, 2004, it will be brought under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Regardless of which legislation is applicable to your case, our historic sex abuse solicitors are well placed to successfully defend you.

What if the accused now has health issues?

In some cases those accused of historic sex abuse may well be elderly and some may now be experiencing significant physical or mental health issue. This can increase the frustration for the family who are desperate to support an accused person.

Where necessary, we can consider if you are fit to plead to an allegation of historic sex abuse, or if you are fit to stand trial. We have access to top expert psychiatrists who specialise in assessments about whether you have sufficient capacity to properly be able to defend allegations of historic sexual offences.

What is the worst case scenario?

Any conviction for historic sexual allegations is, of course, a serious matter. The nature of the likely sentence will be impacted by a variety of factors such as:

  • The nature of the sexual allegations made;
  • The age of the alleged victim/s;
  • The period of time over which the offences were committed;
  • The age then and now of the defendant;
  • Any previous convictions;
  • The character of the defendant now and the lifestyle led since the incident;
  • The availability of character references;
  • The degree of harm to the victim/s may also be considered.

Our Approach to Sexual Offence Defence

Our thorough approach to sexual offences criminal defence means we regularly excel in defending sexual offences prosecutions, and our experience and expertise has led to a number of acquittals in these cases over the years. 


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