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Successes and Failures of Sexual Offences Act 2003 The Sexual Offences Act 2003 was heralded as a response to shifting social attitudes, encompassing the broad libertarian approach towards sexual behaviour that has become increasingly dominant since the Act that preceded it attempting to account for the myriad of more widespread sexual deviancies and abusive practices which were otherwise poorly regulated by existing statute. It had been created as a regularisation of the law on sexual offences providing a contemporary and consistent perspective upon the particular offences; one that would allow the courts to proceed on a fairer and less discriminatory basis, both in its own prosecution of offenders also it in therapy of sufferers. Few statutes could have been subjected to the same amount of public scrutiny because this Act, emerging from a climate of public concern over the adequate protection of the children and also the proliferation of paedophilia. The low conviction rate for rape as well as socio-criminal phenomena such as 'date-rape' or the impact of legislation on acceptable sexual practices were more facets of a many-handed debate about how the law should respond to a changing world. Knowing these issues is central to locating the coherent thread on which different changes in the Act attempt to hang. THE dilemma of CONSENT In acknowledgement of the particular issues involved in the prosecution of rape cases and the consequent poor conviction rates, a central alteration in the law on sexual offences concerned the meaning of consent and the way it ought to be demonstrated in a court of law. Formerly, the Se...