Study shows that every 1 in 3 women and every 1 in 5 men are sexually assaulted daily. Being informed and educated about sexual assault and how to deal with it in the aftermath, and where to get help is extremely important.
If you are a sexual assault survivor, then I suggest that you know where you can receive help to deal with the trauma, i.e., seeing a therapist or a psychologist. Besides that, you must also know and understand how the law of the country can help you.
Contacting a sexual assault lawyer should be a topmost priority as they can walk you through all the laws about sexual assault charges and the Criminal Code that will aid you while seeking justice.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is a criminal offense act where a person touches another without their consent. It is a violation of the sexual integrity of an individual. There are different forms of sexual assault (as listed below). It is widely believed that any form of sexual contact – physical and verbal – where the other party does not give full verbal consent without any external form of force or coercion can be considered sexual assault.
Usually, people believe sexual abusers are strangers or someone who isn’t a part of the family. However, many of the sexual abuse survivors claimed that they were abused by people they knew, and most of the time, these abusers turn out to be relatives.
Thus, you must be careful and alert when someone touches you without your permission to make sure if it was an accident or not.
Types of Sexual Assault
Here is a list of the Criminal Code of Canada acknowledges to be various forms of sexual assault:
- Sexual Exploitation
- Commercial sexual exploitation of children
- Child sexual exploitation
- Voyeurism and Exhibitionism
- Sexual Interference
- Non-consensual touching
- Child pornography
- Marital Rape
- Sexual harassment
- Groping Rape
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Sexual assault with a weapon
Sexual Assault Charges in Canada
Several phases are observed once an individual is charged with the allegation of sexual assault.
In the first phase, before the trial, the accused faces consequences that are resulted from the charges themselves. These ramifications include:
- Public damnation
- Unwanted media attention and publicity
- Restrictive bail conditions
- Employment termination
Once the trial begins and the accused is proven guilty, they must follow the list below.
- Penalties Upon Conviction
- Obligatory registration in the National Sex Offender Registry
- Must give DNA to be held in the DNA Data Bank
- Restrictions on employment
- Restrictions on traveling outside of Canada
The Minimum Sentence for Sexual Assault
Furthermore, if the accused is proven guilty and convicted as the criminal for the offenses they committed, they will go through the following:
- The convict will be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison. But if the victim is under the age of 16, the convict will be sentenced to 14 years in prison. According to the Code under section 271, this law is followed when the offense is treated as indictable.
- If the offense is treated as a summary, the convict will face 18 months in prison. And if the victim is under the age of 16, the convict will be sentenced to approximately two years in prison.
Sexual Assault Criminal Code
Generally, a sexual act is considered to be an assault when:
- A person touches another person sexually without consent.
- A person coerces another person through methods of manipulation into having sexual relations.
- A person intentionally forces themselves – directly or indirectly – on another person.
- A person threatens – verbally or physically with or without a weapon – another person to have sexual relations.
However, according to Canada’s Criminal Code, the Supreme Court of Canada will only hold a sexual act as sexual assault only under certain circumstances and whether the relevant factors are met in the case. These include:
- All the circumstances surrounding the act
- The words and gestures used during the act
- The part of the body touched
- The nature of the contact
- The situation in which the act took place
- Any threats that might have been given with force
It is crucial to remember, where sexual assault or any form of sexual relations is involved, the concept of implied consent is null and void. There is no such thing.
The consenting age is 16 years old in Canada. However, the consenting age involving prostitution, pornography, age-gap relationships, i.e., a relationship of authority, trust, or dependency, is increased to 18 years old.
On the other hand, if you are wrongfully accused as a sexual assaulter, you should immediately contact a Criminal Defense lawyer as they will be able to go through your case and help you out.
However, if you’re proven guilty, your name will be registered on the federal National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) and on the registry of the province you live in.
The registrars will record your name, address, photos, and an in-detail description of the situation you have been involved in and found guilty of. This record will last for a minimum of 10 years or your entire life. You will be obligated to inform the authority of any changes you make in your personal information or otherwise face prison time or pay a hefty fine.
To Sum Up
If you ever feel uncomfortable about being near someone or uncomfortable about a physical contact that seemed sexually unwanted and too forward, then I suggest you turn towards the law for help and expose the accused as a sexual predator or offender.
Research, learn, and understand what is right and wrong regarding sexual relations and look for signs of repressed sexual victims among your friends and family. Not everyone is aware of sexual assault charges and comfortable about seeking out help, so we have to make sure they know they are being seen and heard.
Look up the helpline of your province and keep them saved on your phone, just in case. Remember, you are not alone in this journey. You will always find help and support.