Can You Recognize Sexual Assault?

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As part of Victims and Survivors of Crime Week, learn more about the crime of sexual assault and the rules surrounding sexual consent.

What is sexual assault?

In Canada, sexual assault is defined as one person touching another person non-consensually for a sexual purpose. Sexual touching can range from a kiss, a caress, to sexual acts.

To learn more, read our articles What Is Sexual Assault? and Sexual Offences.

What is sexual consent?

Consent to sexual activity must be given freely and clearly. There are many ways of expressing consent, either by words, actions, or a combination of both.

However, silence or inaction are not consent. This means that just because someone didn’t resist or fight back doesn’t mean that they consented.

To learn more, read our articles Sexual Consent and Sexual Consent of Teenagers. You can also watch our video Consent to Sexual Activity: What if I Change My Mind?

How to report sexual assault?

Someone who has been sexually assaulted may need time to process the trauma. It does not matter how much time has passed; they can always report the crime to the police because there is no deadline to do so.

To learn more, read our article Sexual Assault: Taking Action Years Later and Reporting a Crime to the Police.

You can also consult our comprehensive guide: Sexual Assault: Reporting, Getting Help, Remedies.

Do you work with people who have experienced sexual violence?

You may have to intervene with a person who has been sexually assaulted. If you, you can consult our guide: Accompanying Sexual Assault Victims in Vulnerable Situations.