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The term “sexual assault” refers to any unwanted sexual contact, not merely non-consensual sexual intercourse. Sexual assault can take many different forms, including touching, kissing, and fondling. To determine whether the touching was sexual, the court takes into account the entire set of facts, including the body part contacted, the verbal and physical gestures that went along with the behaviour, the accused’s motivations, and the setting in which it took place. 

A person who is intoxicated, unconscious, or asleep cannot voluntarily consent to sexual activity under Canadian criminal law. It is crucial to make reasonable efforts to confirm that the other person is consenting before engaging in sexual activity. The age of consent in Canada is sixteen. While there are a few exceptions, a person can only voluntarily consent to sexual activity once they turn 16 years old.

What is considered Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is defined as an assault that violates the victim’s sexual integrity and is of a sexual character. According to the Supreme Court of Canada, a sexual act that violates the victim’s sexual integrity qualifies as sexual assault and is not dependant only on the specific part of the victim’s anatomy is touched. There are a few pertinent variables to take into account when determining the nature of a sexual assault:

  • The bodily part that was touched;
  • Any threats that might or might not be followed by physical force;
  • The nature of the interaction;
  • The circumstances surrounding the contact;
  • Words and body language related to the contact;
  • The environment in which the sexual activity took place;

What is Aggravated Sexual Assault?

Anyone who, while committing a sexual assault, injures, maims, disfigures, or endangers the complainant’s life is guilty of aggravated sexual assault. The punishments for aggravated sexual assault are more severe than those for sexual assault.

What is Sexual Interference?

Sexual interference is defined as the willful touching of a minor under the age of 16 for sexual purposes. While there is a connection between this offence and sexual assault, sexual interference is only applicable when the complaining witness is under the age of sixteen. 

Sexual interference necessitates that the touching be done for a “sexual purpose,” as opposed to sexual assault, which just requires that the contact be of a “sexual nature.” Touching for a sexual purpose necessitates that the defendant made physical contact with a person under the age of 16 and intended for a sexual encounter of any kind to occur. Because they must show that the defendant had the explicit intent to contact for a sexual purpose rather than just touching, the Crown Prosecutor will have a more challenging time demonstrating the offence in the circumstances involving a charge of sexual interference.

What is Sexual Exploitation?

When someone who meets specific legal requirements and engages in direct or indirect sexual contact with a person between the ages of 16 and 18, this is known as sexual exploitation. These specific requirements can include someone who has a relationship of trust or authority with the minor, or with whom the child is dependent, or who has an exploitative relationship with the minor. Circumstances such as the minor’s age, how close in age the two parties are, and the nature of the relationship, as well as the degree of power or influence the adult has over the minor, are all factors that the court looks at when determining if sexual exploitation has occurred. 

Age of Consent in Canada

16 is the age of consent in Canada. Under Canadian law, consent cannot exist in sexual situations involving anyone under the age of sixteen and someone who is five or more years older than they are. Sexual activity with someone who is two or more years older is not permitted if the party is under the age of fourteen. In any circumstance, a person in authority cannot use alleged consent as a justification for engaging in sexual behaviour with a minor.

What is invitation to sexual touching?

Under section 152 of Canada’s Criminal Code, it is unlawful to invite or ask an individual under the age of sixteen to touch, indirectly or directly, the body of an individual (which can include another person or the minor themself) for a sexual purpose. 

Touching occurring for a sexual purpose is a required element for this offence; it can be with an entire body part or an item, and the body being touched can belong to the defendant or anybody else, including the complainant. The crime is committed when the invitation, inciting, or counselling to touch takes place, not when the actual touching occurs– in fact, the actual touching of a body is not necessary for this offence to occur. 

Toronto Sexual Assault Lawyer 

It can feel as though you are already guilty just by being accused of a sexual offence. The second most stigmatized crime in today’s society after murder is without a doubt sexual assault. We are familiar with the shame and suffering that come with being falsely accused of a crime you did not commit since we have successfully defended many clients charged with these offences.  

Alex Karapancev was head of the sex offences practice of a reputable downtown Toronto law firm for several years prior to starting his own firm. Mr. Karapancev achieved favourable outcomes in numerous sexual assault prosecutions while serving in this capacity. He has achieved complete acquittals in a number of trials using his forensic cross-examination techniques without even having to call his client to testify. 

To increase your chances of success, you should retain legal representation as soon as you can after being charged. You can contact Karapancev Law 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone or on our website to discuss any pending sexual assault charges.

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Alexander Karapancev

Alexander Karapancev is a Toronto criminal lawyer practicing throughout the province of Ontario. He regularly serves as lead trial counsel on serious and complex criminal cases. He is the founder of Karapancev Law, a law firm representing clients facing criminal charges, regulatory offences, and professional discipline proceedings.

Mr. Karapancev has acted as counsel in hundreds of cases throughout the province of Ontario, regularly representing clients at trials, applications, bail hearings and preliminary inquiries. He is regularly retained to defend individuals charged with serious allegations of fraud, drug trafficking, DUI offences, domestic assault, and sexual assault. Prior to founding his law firm, Mr. Karapancev practiced criminal defence at a boutique Toronto law firm and also served as a per diem Crown prosecutor.

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