If you have been sexually assaulted, please report it immediately.
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 an assault that is committed in circumstances of a sexual nature in which the sexual integrity of the victim is violated (Martin's Criminal Code, 2012). 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. Instead, the Criminal Code of Canada has identified three levels of sexual assault based on the circumstances of the case.
Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm happens if:
- You are sexually assaulted by someone who has a weapon or imitation weapon and threatens to use it against you;
- The offender threatens to harm a third person, for example a child or a friend, if you do not consent to a sexual act with them;
- The offender harms you or more than one person assaults you in the same incident.
Aggravated sexual assault takes place if you are wounded, disfigured, beaten, or in danger of losing your life while being sexually assaulted.
Sexual assault and consent
Sexual assault occurs if you have been kissed, fondled, groped or forced to engage in sexual activity without your permission or consent. Consent means you voluntarily agree to participate in the sexual activity in question; in other words, you freely agree this is something you want to do.
In May of 2008, the 'age of consent' was changed to 16 years old meaning that 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 and the sexual activity is consensual. 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, you've had too much to drink or have passed out.
- The offender abuses their position of trust, power or authority and influence or 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.