Sexual assault laws can be confusing in Canada since there are no specific laws defining rape. Canada recognizes sexual assault as “assault of a sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the victim,” which can seem vague to most people. What this means is that sexual assault does not have to rely on activity involving a sexual organ or any other part of the human anatomy, unlike laws in other countries. Instead, Canada laws focus on looking at each case individually and determining whether or not sexual assault did in fact occur.
There are several factors involved in sexual assault cases. They include the following:
- The nature of the conduct.
- What body parts were touched.
- The overall situation leading up to the sexual contact.
- Any words or gestures used in the sexual act.
- Any threats or use of force.
- Any other circumstances that may be important to the case.
Our sexual assault lawyers can meet with you in Belleville for a free initial consultation. Call (416) 364-2000
Myths Surrounding Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is not well-understood in Canada. Not only are the laws vague, but there are many misconceptions that make people believe that sexual assault is acceptable, even though it is not.
Some people believe that they or anyone they know cannot be a victim of sexual assault. This is not true. It can happen to anyone. It can happen to people of all ages, and even men. However, young women and those with disabilities face the highest risk.
It is often believed that sexual assault is primarily committed by strangers. While anyone can attack a person, 82% of sexual assaults in Canada are committed by people the victim knows. This includes acquaintances, dating partners, and even spouses. Spouses can sexually assault each other. Just because someone is married does not mean that they have to consent to sex with their spouse every time.
Sexual assault can happen anywhere, although most attacks happen in private places such as homes. It is a myth that such acts tend to happen in dark places outside.
Some people think it is OK to have sex with someone who is intoxicated. If a person is drunk or high on drugs, he or she cannot give consent. Without consent, the act is considered sexual assault.
It is often believed that if a person does not cry, scream, or fight back, then he or she is consenting to the sexual activity. Everyone reacts to traumatic situations in different ways. A person who is intoxicated may be unable to resist. Some victims get paralyzed with fear. A person’s reaction to assault should not be considered in a case unless they explicitly agreed to the sexual activity.
Belleville Sexual Assault Lawyer Near Me (416) 364-2000
Laws of Consent in Canada
In Canada, whether or not sexual activity is legal focuses primarily on consent, which is outlined in Canada’s Criminal Code in Section 273.1(1). When it comes to consent, the legal age is a factor in Canada. The age of consent in Canada is 16 years old. Therefore, a minor who is younger than 16 years old cannot consent to sexual activity with someone who is older than them by five or more years. A person who is younger than 14 years old cannot consent to sexual activity with someone who is age 16 or older. There are other exceptions for sexual relationships for people who are close in age.
The age of consent rises to 18 years old when the sexual activity involves pornography or prostitution. Also, when in a relationship of trust or authority, the age of consent is 18. This applies to relationships involving coaches, teachers or babysitters. A person has not consented to sexual activity if:
- They say or do something that shows they are not consenting.
- They are incapable of consenting, such as they are asleep, unconscious, they have mental impairments or they are a minor.
- The attacker is forcing the victim to consent through abuse of authority or trust.
- Someone else consents to sex on their behalf.
Consent laws can be confusing. If you believe you were a victim of sexual assault, get legal help from the sexual assault lawyers at Preszler Law Firm. We can help you understand the laws that apply and help you recover compensation for damages.
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Damages Available in Sexual Assault Cases
In sexual assault cases, a victim can recover several types of compensation. They include the following:
- Medical bills. Sexual assault is typically forced upon a victim and can sometimes lead to serious injuries. An attack can injure a person’s sexual organs. In some cases, the victim is strangled and becomes unconscious. Sometimes a person is beaten before or after the sexual assault. In any case, the resulting injuries can lead to costly medical bills.
- Pain and suffering. Sexual assault is a traumatic experience for the victim. A victim can develop anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Some have suicidal thoughts and even kill themselves. Persistent thoughts about the attack can consume someone’s life. These damages are capped at $300,000 in Canada.
- Lost wages. Physical or emotional trauma from sexual assault can cause a person to miss work. It can be hard to focus on work tasks when a person experiences flashbacks of the event. A person can be compensated for lost wages.
- Punitive damages. Punitive damages for sexual assault are rare in Canada but are sometimes available in cases of egregious behavior, such as injury to the victim’s sexual organs or death.
Speak with an Experienced Sexual Assault Lawyer
Sexual assault can be a traumatic experience and victims are not always willing to discuss the details of the incident because of the embarrassment and humiliation involved. Many victims unfairly blame themselves for what happened.
However, by keeping quiet, you allow the sexual assault to continue. The offender could victimize others. Therefore, it is important to seek justice against the offender. They need to be held liable for your damages and punished accordingly. Let the sexual assault lawyers at Preszler Law Firm assist you during this emotional time. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-JUSTICE or filling out the online form.