Sexual Health Literacy


Assault and Battery (PC Sections 220-222; PC Sections 240-248). 
Under California law, assault and battery are separate crimes, although often they are charged together. Assault is defined as an unlawful attempt to violently injure another person. Battery means unlawfully and willfully using force or violence against another person. Other laws make both assault and battery more serious crimes if the offender uses a firearm or other deadly weapon, commits the crime with the intent to commit mayhem or rape, or if the assault or battery is against a government officer or an elderly person. Under California law, transmission of HIV may constitute an aggravated battery.

Rape (PC Sections 261-266) 
Criminal sexual assault also known as rape is a felony that carries with it severe penalties. Rape is sexual intercourse against a person under one of the following circumstances:

  • The victim is unable to give legal consent due to a mental disorder, developmental disability, or physical disability
  • The victim is unable to resist because the person is unconscious, intoxicated, or anesthetized, and the assailant knew or should have known of the victim's condition
  • The action is against the person's will by using force, violence, menace, duress, or fear of immediate injury, or by a threat to retaliate in the future
  • The defendant is a public official who acts against the victim's will by a threat to arrest or deport the victim

California law specifically makes it unlawful for a man to rape his wife.

Aggravated criminal sexual assault is criminal sexual assault against a child under the age of 14, and who is ten or more years younger than the defendant. Acting in concert with others is another form of aggravated rape.

Sexual battery is a crime similar to rape, and is defined as touching the intimate part of another person who is restrained and without the person's consent. For example, sexually touching a person who is institutionalized and seriously disabled is sexual battery.


    • Persons charged with committing sexual assault have to register as a sex offender according to Megan’s Law. A new California law, Assembly Bill 488 (Nicole Parra), sponsored by the Attorney General now provides the public with Internet access to detailed information on registered sex offenders.
    • This expanded access allows the public for the first time to use their personal computers to view information on sex offenders required to register with local law enforcement under California's Megan's Law. Previously, the information was available only by personally visiting police stations and sheriff offices or by calling a 900 toll-number. The new law was given final passage by the Legislature on August 24, 2004 and signed by the Governor on September 24, 2004.
    • Monetary awards may also be required by offenders to pay to victims of sexual assault.
    This page fulfills AB 1088 requirements.

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