The range of sexual offences under the criminal law includes rape, buggery and gross indecency, indecent assault, abduction, incest and other unlawful sexual acts. The existing law has been criticised because some of these offences are gender-specific, while others are based on sexual orientation. There are also concerns that the existing sexual offences may not adequately reflect the range of non-consensual conduct which should be subject to criminal sanction. The maximum sentences that are applicable to the various offences may also need to be reviewed.
Reflecting these concerns, in April 2006 the Law Reform Commission was asked to review the existing sexual offences under the criminal law. The Commission was also asked to consider whether a register of sexual offenders should be established. A sub-committee, chaired by Mr Peter Duncan, SC, was formed in June 2006. The Sub-committee published a Consultation Paper in July 2008 containing its interim proposals on the question of a sex offenders register. A Commission Report on this aspect of the project was published in February 2010. In December 2010, the Commission issued a Report proposing the abolition of the common law presumption that a boy under 14 is incapable of sexual intercourse. The Sub-committee published a Consultation Paper in September 2012 on rape and other non-consensual sexual offences, a Consultation Paper in November 2016 on sexual offences involving children and persons with mental impairment, and a Consultation Paper in May 2018 on miscellaneous sexual offences. In April 2019, the Commission issued a Report proposing the introduction of a specific offence of voyeurism and a specific offence of non-consensual upskirt-photography. In December 2019, the Commission issued a Report on review of substantive sexual offences. In November 2020, the Sub-committee published a Consultation Paper on sentencing and related matters in the review of sexual offences. In May 2022, the Commission issued a report on sentencing and related matters in the review of sexual offences.
The Sub-committee's Secretary is Ms Sally Ng, Senior Government Counsel.
If you wish further information on this project, please write to the Secretary of the Law Reform Commission by fax, post or email.
The Commission's offices are at:
4/F, East Wing, Justice Place,
18 Lower Albert Road,
Central, Hong Kong.
Telephone: (852) 3918 4097
Fax: (852) 3918 4096