Victims and survivors of sexual violence often don’t report what happened to them for different reasons. Whether or not victims choose to go to the police, help is available at any time.
1. Different crimes can apply to sexual violence
Sexual violence isn’t a specific crime in the Criminal Code. It’s a general term that covers any unwanted sexual behaviour, in person or online.
Different acts of sexual violence may meet the definition of different crimes. It depends on what happened. Examples of crimes that could apply to sexual violence include sexual assault, indecent acts, sharing intimate images, and more.
People can report sexual violence to the police even if they’re not sure whether what happened is a crime. The police and prosecutors will decide based on the definitions in the Criminal Code.
2. There’s no time limit for reporting sexual violence
Victims of sexual violence can file a police report or sue their aggressor in civil court at any time, even years later. It’s up to victims to decide when they want to take one or both of these steps, if ever.
Witnesses of sexual violence can also report a crime to the police at any time.
3. You don’t have to file a police report to get compensation
In some cases, victims of sexual violence can get compensation for the harm they suffered. They can get this compensation without going to the police.
Generally, government programs that compensate crime victims don’t require them to file a police report. For example, victims can ask for compensation from IVAC (Indemnisation des victimes d’actes criminels or crime victim compensation) without reporting a crime to the police.
Victims can also ask a civil court to order their aggressor to pay them compensation without reporting a crime.