Sex with a Minor Section 376B

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FAQs on Sexual Offence – Relating to Sex with a Minor   

 

What is the legal age to have consensual sex?607ADBEB2795E36B1932BD28B591

The legal age in the context of Singapore is 16. Sex with a minor, regardless of whether the act was consented to or not, is illegal and it is a punishable offence pursuant to Section 376A of the Penal code. Minors of both genders are covered within this provision.

 

What constitutes statutory rape?

If the minor is a girl below the age of 14, the offence is recognise as statutory rape. A girl below the age of 14 is deemed to be unable to communicate consent to sex. The sexual penetration of a person under 14 years of age is thus deemed to be rape (alternatively, unlawful sexual penetration). When found liable, the sanction impose upon one can lead up to 20 years imprisonment inclusive of a fine or caning.

 

Is it an offence to have sex with a minor under 16 years of age?

Yes, the act is deemed illegal and the actor of the crime will be seen to be a criminal under the law. Pursuant to Section 377 of the Penal code, an offender will be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and/ or fine.

 

What if I did not know she is under 16 years of age?

With regards to the commonly cited defence of mistaken belief or in layman terms “I did not know she was below 16!” Section 377D of the Penal Code clearly states that:

 

If the offender is above the age of 21, he cannot claim that he mistakenly believed the minor was nit underage as a defence.

 

If the offender is below the age of 21, he may claim that he mistakenly believed the minor was not underage as a defence, but only if the minor was of the opposite sex, and if the offender has not previously committed any similar sexual offences before.

 

What if both parties are below 14 years of age or 15 years of age?

Strictly speaking, this still constitutes the offence of statutory rape. However, the police, exercising its discretion and taking into account the age of the parties and the circumstances surrounding the alleged act in question, may not initiate any charges.

 

What if the girl initiated the sex?

If the girl who is under 16 induced the boy to have sex with her, she may be the guilty party under the offence of Statutory Penetration of a Minor under Section 376A, Penal Code.

 

Can a 15 year old boy be a victim of rape?

A boy cannot be held to be a victim of rape as it is clearly defined user Section 375 of the Penal code that rape consists of penile penetration of the vagina, thus narrowing the scope of victimisation to females. However, he may be a victim of an offence committed under Section 376A of the penal code (the sexual penetration of a minor under 16) as this provision covers both females and males.

 

Do I commit an offence if I have Commercial sex with a minor in Singapore?

Commercial sex with minors under the age of 18 is a punishable offence pursuant to Section 376B of the Penal Code. Any person who obtains for consideration the sexual services of a person, who is under 18 years of age, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 7 years, or with fine, or with both.

 

What if I have commercial sex with a minor when I am outside of Singapore?

Under Section 376C, Singapore citizens or permanent residents who engage in commercial sex with a minor under 18 will still be liable even if the acts were done in a location outside of Singapore.

 

Online Commercial Sex With Minors Under 18

In recent years, there has been an increase of cases which involved commercial sex with minors. The offence of having commercial sex with minors under 18 is found under Section 376B of the Penal Code:

“(1)  Any person who obtains for consideration the sexual services of a person, who is under 18 years of age, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 7 years, or with fine, or with both.

[51/2007]

(2)  Any person who communicates with another person for the purpose of obtaining for consideration, the sexual services of a person who is under 18 years of age, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years, or with fine, or with both.

[51/2007]

(3)  No person shall be guilty of an offence under this section for any sexual services obtained from that person’s spouse.

[51/2007]

(4)  In this section, “sexual services” means any sexual services involving

(a)

sexual penetration of the vagina or anus, as the case may be, of a person by a part of another person’s body (other than the penis) or by anything else; or

(b)

penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth, as the case may be, of a person by a man’s penis.”

 

An offender would not be able to escape liability by seeking commercial sex with a minor outside of Singapore as it constitutes a similar offence. Offenders will be charged under Section 376C of the Penal Code for committing commercial sex with a minor under 18 outside of Singapore:

“(1)  Any person, being a citizen or a permanent resident of Singapore, who does, outside Singapore, any act that would, if done in Singapore, constitute an offence under section 376B, shall be guilty of an offence.

[51/2007]

(2)  A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable to the same punishment to which he would have been liable had he been convicted of an offence under section 376B.”

Mistake as to age does not provide as a valid defence for committing commercial sex with minors under 18, in or outside of Singapore. More often than not, social escorts who provide commercial sexual services would advertise themselves as to be above the age of 18. By doing so, potential customers will not be deterred by their age. It is in the onus of the customer to verify their age by checking their NRIC. This is provided under Section 377D of the Penal Code:

“(1)  Subject to subsections (2) and (3) and notwithstanding anything in section 79, a reasonable mistake as to the age of a person shall not be a defence to any charge of an offence under section 376A(2), 376B or 376C.

[51/2007]

(2)  In the case of a person who at the time of the alleged offence was under 21 years of age, the presence of a reasonable mistaken belief that the minor, who is of the opposite sex, was of or above

(a)

the age of 16 years, shall be a valid defence to a charge of an offence under section 376A(2); or

(b)

the age of 18 years, shall be a valid defence to a charge of an offence under section 376B or 376C.

[51/2007]

(3)  For the purposes of subsection (2), the defence under that subsection shall no longer be available if at the time of the offence, the person charged with that offence has previously been charged in court for an offence under section 376A, 376B, 376C or 376E, or section 7 of the Children and Young Persons Act (Cap. 38) or section 140(1)(i) of the Women’s Charter (Cap. 353).”

 

If you need legal representation, kindly contact Gloria James-Civetta & Co here, to get the legal advice you need.

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