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Sexual offence reforms take effect, 01/12/10 [S]

The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 has come into force.

The new legislation:

  • Provides for the first time a statutory definition of consent as 'free agreement' enshrined in the law
  • Replaces the common-law offence of rape with a broader statutory offence (which includes male rape)
  • Introduces new statutory crimes, including targeting coercive sexual conduct such as the sending of sexually offensive emails or texts, and sexual exposure
  • Enables Scottish law enforcement agencies to pursue anyone from Scotland who commits a sex crime under Scots law against someone under-18 abroad regardless of the law in that country
  • Includes 'protective offences' to safeguard those with limited or no capacity to consent due to their young age or a mental disorder
The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament on June 10, 2009 and the Act received Royal Assent on July 15, 2009.


For full details see the Scottish Government website.

Further Information

Sexual offence reforms take effect
Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009