Public sexual harassment (PSH) will become a specific offence under new legislation backed by the government. The maximum penalty will be two years’ imprisonment.

Specific Offences

If you have been falsely accused of sexual assault, such as public sexual harassment, contact us at Ashmans Solicitors. We offer free police station representation and are members of the Legal Aid scheme. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What’s happening?

Public sexual harassment is already illegal.

However, there have been calls for tougher laws to send a clear message that such behaviour is not acceptable. A wide range of experts were consulted on the matter, with 22 out of the 25 invited respondents saying that public sexual harassment is a widespread problem.

Following the consultation, it was decided that a specific public sexual harassment offence was needed. It is thought this will make the law clearer to both the public and the police, and contribute towards a cultural change.

The law is therefore being changed to make public sexual harassment a specific offence. Under the legislation, it will be an offence to intentionally cause someone harassment, alarm or distress because of the victim’s sex. The maximum penalty is two years’ imprisonment.

The new offence is likely to be implemented in the summer of 2023.

Labour urges the government to “go further”

Labour shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper welcomed the news, but said the government needed to “go further and faster” when it came to tackling the epidemic of violence against girls and women.

She said that Labour “has a plan to put rape and domestic abuse specialists in every police force in the country, introduce fast-track rape courts and a domestic abuse register, and overhaul police training so that every victim gets the best possible support.”

Accused of a sexual offence?

The new law could see a rise in the number of people accused of public sexual harassment. If you are accused of any kind of crime – be it a sexual offence or otherwise – you need a specialist defence lawyer by your side.

At Ashmans Solicitors, we represent those accused of sexual offences and all other forms of crime. We offer free police station representation and are members of the Legal Aid scheme. Contact our leading criminal defence lawyers now to find out how we can help you.

Call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can also email us on or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form and we will contact you.