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Sexual assault and sex crimes

The Calgary Police Service is committed to reducing the frequency of sexual assault through the collaborative effort of our community partners, to providing resolution for victims of sexual assault and hold offenders accountable.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault occurs if you have been kissed, fondled, groped or forced to engage in sexual activity without your permission or consent. Sexual assault is not defined by contact with any specific body part or whether or not the victim and offender are known to each other, nor is it based on the gender of the individuals involved.

Consent means you voluntarily agree to participate in the sexual activity in question. The age of consent is 16 years old. A person under the age of 16 cannot legally consent to sexual activity with anyone else unless the individuals are within five years of age. A person who is under the age of 14 years cannot consent to sexual activity with another person who is two or more years older than them.

There is no consent when:

  • You don't freely or directly agree to participate in the sexual activity.
  • You aren't capable of consenting to the activity, for example, if you've had too much to drink or have passed out​.
  • The offender abuses their position of trust, power or authority and influence to convince you to participate in sexual activity with them.
  • Through your words or actions, you don't agree to sexual activity with that person.
  • You consent to engage in the sexual activity, but then, through your words or actions you don't want to continue to participate.

Drug facilitated sexual assault

Anyone can be drugged and sexually assaulted. Someone could easily slip something into your food or drink without you knowing about it, whether it's alcoholic or non-alcoholic. This may be done to make a sexual assault easier for the offender, and you could become a victim.

There are many different sexual assault drugs out there with street names like roofies, the "date rape" drug, easy lay, or liquid X. Because these drugs take several forms including tablets, capsules, pills and clear odorless liquids, it is difficult to know if a drug has been put into your drink. Some of these drugs can cause death when mixed with alcohol.

If you've been drugged you may feel:

  • drowsy
  • confused
  • dizzy
  • sick to your stomach
  • overly drunk

Or you may experience the following:

  • loss of coordination
  • blackouts
  • inability to protect yourself from an attacker
  • loss of memory

If you feel any of these symptoms, or if your drink looks, smells or tastes different, stop drinking and call 9-1-1 for medical help and police.

Protecting yourself against sexual assault

The Calgary Police Service urges you to be vigilant about your personal safety whether out by yourself or with your friends. Here’s how you can protect yourself and your friends from being the victim of a sexual assault:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Develop a safety plan: let someone you trust know where you are going, and when to expect you back.
  • If you are suspicious of someone, trust your instincts. Do not engage in any conversation and proceed to the nearest safe or public place and report the incident immediately.
  • Don't drink anything that has not been opened or prepared in front of you.
  • If you accept a drink from another person, you are putting yourself at risk.
  • Don't leave your drink alone or with other people. Take it with you.

Reporting sexual assault

You can report a sexual assault in three ways.

  • If you see a sexual assault in progress call 9-1-1. You can also call the Police Non-Emergency line at 403-266-1234 and officers will be sent to investigate no matter when the offence occurred. Depending on the circumstances, an investigator from the Sex Crimes Unit may complete the investigation.
  • Go to a police station or community station. Depending on the nature and time the sexual assault occurred you may be asked to attend the hospital with the police or you may be asked to write out a statement at the police station. In either case a police officer will begin a criminal investigation. It is important to keep the statement and file number for your reference.
  • Go to the hospital. If you have been sexually assaulted within the past 72 hours, attend the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Center (age 14 and up) or the Alberta Children’s Hospital (age 13 and younger.) If you attend the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Center tell the Urgent Care nurse you have been sexually assaulted and you will be treated by medical staff from the CSART (Calgary Sexual Assault Response Team). CSART will attend to your medical and emotional needs. CSART does not automatically report the assault to the police.

You can choose whether you want the police to get involved:

  • If you do not want police involved, the medical staff will assess your injuries, treat your medical needs and test for sexually transmitted infections.
  • If you decide to report the assault to police, you will still receive the medical attention required and CSART will call the police for you. Part of your medical care may involve collecting evidence from your body (a 'sexual assault kit') to give to police, and a police investigator will follow up with your case.
  • You can decide whether you want police involved at a later date and receive medical and emotional care while having a sexual assault kit completed. This kit remains the property of Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse for up to one year. At any time prior to the end of the one year, you may consent to release the kit to police to begin a criminal investigation, or you may decide to have the evidence destroyed. These details will be explained to you at the hospital.

To help the police gather evidence, do not:

  • shower or bathe
  • change or throw away your clothes
  • wash your hands or comb your hair
  • take any drugs or alcohol
  • disturb the area of the assault

Please note that you can call the police at any time. It's never too late to get the police involved. However, the sooner you alert them, the easier it is for them to collect the evidence needed to lay charges or proceed with an investigation.

Resources for victims

Please see the Information Guide for Vicitims of Sexual Assault provided by the Government of Alberta​.

The Calgary Police Service's Sex Crimes Unit partners with the following organizations: