Sexual offence is one of the most serious crimes in Canada. Sentences go from one to ten years in jail if convicted for criminal act, and up to 18 months in jail if convicted for summary offence. There are various types of sexual offence depending on the victim’s age, whether they are adult or not, if they were injured, whether a weapon was used and other circumstances of the act. If a person gets accused for sexual assault that involved using a weapon (and the definition of “weapon“is extremely important here) or causing bodily hard, the maximum sentence goes up to 14 years in jail. The punishment is severe, which is why such accusations must be treated very seriously.
Overall, for the assault to be qualified as sexual assault there has to be:
1) Sexual contact
Sexual contact involves direct or indirect contact by a person with sexual purposes. For example, a simple handshake is not sexual contact if it was performed only with the purpose of greeting. But if there is proof that it was of sexual nature, the situation changes completely. The test used in court to determine whether contact that happened was of sexual nature is: “Under all circumstances, would a reasonable person perceive this contact as sexual? “ Also, contact must be intentional, as opposed to accidental.
2) Lack of consent
The issue of consent is one of the most important in a sexual assault case. For such crime to happen, the assailant doesn’t have to use force at all. All that matters is whether the victim gave their consent or not.