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Historical Sexual Offences

A historical sexual offence means that the allegation of the sexual offence is made a long while after the incident is alleged to have taken place.

Historical sexual offences allegations are incredibly serious, if these are your circumstances, it’s paramount that you speak to an expert sexual offence solicitor as soon as possible.

At Nelson Guest, we understand that these accusations can feel awfully humiliating and distressful to experience, having terrible repercussions on your career and personal life.

Our experienced team have defended a large number of clients facing historical sexual abuse accusations. You can trust us to align our legal support with your specific circumstances, offering an honest break down of your options and position. We can support you by reviewing the evidence against you, assessing your case, and building your defence.

To discuss your needs today, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our historic sexual offences solicitors at Nelson Guest. You can call us on 020 8309 5010 or email

Why choose us?

Our sexual assault solicitors have ample experience defending a diverse range of sexual offence cases, including historical sexual assault. We know that these cases are incredibly sensitive, and always ensure to take a pragmatic and careful approach.

At Nelson Guest, we have cleared numerous clients of sexual abuse charges, including historical sexual abuse. Our team draw upon our in-depth knowledge and high-level legal skills, to create a strong defence.

We appreciate that in situations like these, our clients want to feel supported. Our solicitors will make certain that your concerns are taken into account, always keeping you in the loop regarding the relevant legal stages, as we build your case.

At Nelson Guest, we are well aware that facing these allegations can be devastating, bringing up lots of emotions. Our goal is always to mitigate stress during the legal processes, with a calm and practical approach.

At Nelson Guest, our aim is to provide an excellent, quality service and value for your money. Our criminal defence department has an excellent track record when it comes to helping clients achieve a favourable outcome.

If you would like to learn more about our team, our successful track record, and how we might help you with your case, please get in touch with our expert solicitors today.

Our historical sexual offences legal service covers all areas of support that an accused client may need, including:

  • Legal advice for those who’ve been accused of a historical sexual offence
  • Support to build a case and develop a strong defence
  • Representing a client in Court
  • Negotiating with the prosecution to reach a more favourable settlement for the client
  • Preparing and filing all legal documents required for the legal processes and case

Frequently asked questions

What is considered a historical offence?

In the context of sexual offences, a historical offence means that the alleged sexual crime took place a significant or long amount of time ago. These crimes are still eligible for legal action, no matter how long ago they occurred.

Being accused of a historical sexual offence can be extremely daunting, and you are likely worried about the impact on your future. Rest assured, when you work with us, our solicitors will work hard to build you the strongest defence possible.

How can historical abuse be proven?

When an abuse case has taken place years before, it is not usually possible to rely on forensic evidence.

To prove historical sexual abuse, the types of evidence that might be relied upon include statements from the victim and any witnesses, medical reports, and any other historical records that there may be.

Where historical records are limited, the responsibility is on the solicitor representing the victim, to prove that it is likely that the abuse took place.

How does the sentencing of historic offenders work?

When sentencing historical sexual offences, the prosecution refers to the Sexual Offences Act 1956.

According to the Sentencing Council, the court should apply certain principles, when sentencing under the Sexual Offences Act 1956, or other legislation that pre-dates the 2003 Act.

These principles include, but are not limited to:

  • The offender should be sentenced in line with the sentencing rules applicable to the date of the sentence
  • The court should closely consider the severity of the offence, by assessing the culpability of the offender, including the harm they intended or caused
  • The court should closely consider the passing of time, and whether or not it has mitigated or aggravated the severity of the offence

The Sexual Offences Act 1956, which governs sentencing for historical sexual offences, is based upon the type of offence, and the date that the offence took place. For example:

A section 1 Rape offence, with effectives date between 1957 and 2004 carries a maximum sentence of life.

An indecent image offence, with effective dates between 1978 and 2001, carries a maximum sentence of 3 years in prison.

How long do historical abuse cases take?

It is difficult to determine how long a historical abuse case might take, each case is unique and depending on the type of sexual offence, the circumstances, and the evidence available.

Historic sexual assault cases can take anywhere between four months and eighteen months or longer, however, this is only an approximation.

For more information about historical sexual offences, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our experts at Nelson Guest.

What are the potential defences for historic sexual abuse?

Historic sexual offences are cases where the alleged abuse occurred many years since the incident was reported. Due to this, forensic evidence such as DNA is not usually available. Consequently these cases tend to rely on statements given by the alleged victim, as well as any witnesses.

Defences for historical sexual abuse are then often based upon the perceived dependability and credibility of the alleged victim, and/or any witnesses who support your defence.

Depending on the situation, a solicitor may be able to present a defence based on:

  • The allegations against the defendant are false, particularly where it can be shown that the victim had a motive to make a false claim
  • The defence might argue that the person accused reasonably thought that the alleged victim gave consent

Contact our historical sexual offences solicitors

To get in contact with our sensitive and professional historical sexual offences solicitors in London, you can call our office on 020 8309 5010 or use our contact form.