What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual behaviour that makes a person feel uncomfortable, threatened or scared. It covers:
- Rape: forced, unwanted sex or sexual acts.
- Child sexual abuse: using power over a child to involve that child in sexual activity.
- Indecent assault: indecent behaviour before, during or after an assault.
Why do people sexually assault others?
Sexual assault isn’t always about offenders getting pleasure from sex. It can also be about them enjoying asserting power and control over someone. Some offenders have been abused themselves, but this isn’t always the case. Sexual assault is a serious crime and is never the fault of the victim.
A conviction for sexual assault is extremely serious. In addition to resulting in consequences including jail time, probation, fines, restitution, and counselling, a conviction will also result in significant stigma. Individuals convicted of sexual assault will have challenges with establishing future relationships, getting employment in certain sectors, and travelling. Their reputation will be permanently affected.
If you have been accused of sexual assault or charged with the offence, it is imperative to consult with a knowledgeable criminal lawyer who has specific experience handling such matters right away. Like domestic assault cases, sexual assault cases are challenging: often involving only two individuals and no witnesses. Allegations of sexual assault also raise complex questions of consent, minors, and other serious issues. Bringing an effective defence in such circumstances must be undertaken very carefully. we have been representing clients charged with sexual assault since 1999. Over the years we have seen it all and have successfully defended individuals charged with sexual assault in even the most difficult situations.
The Supreme Court of Canada has held that sexual assault is an attack of a sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the victim. Actions leading to sexual assault charges can range from unwanted sexual touching to rape.
Sexual assault falls within the ambit of a broader range of offences known as sex crimes. Other charges that can be brought in addition to sexual assault include:
- Sexual interference;
- Invitation to sexual touching;
- Internet luring;
- Sexual exploitation; and
- Child pornography.
An individual charged with sexual assault can also be convicted of these additional sexual crimes, depending on the circumstances.
Consequences of Sexual Assault Allegations and Conviction
Sexual assault is one of the most serious criminal offences in Canada and is treated as such. Almost every sexual assault conviction will result in jail time (including life in prison in the most serious cases), registration in a national DNA bank, and registration on both provincial and national sex offender registries. In certain circumstances, convictions also result in mandatory minimum sentences.