Sexual assault and interference charges can come as a huge blow to your personal and professional life. Despite being very common, these charges confuse many individuals as they don’t usually understand the technicalities behind them.
Keeping this in mind, we have created this blog to answer all the frequently asked questions regarding sexual asault charges in Canada.
As the best criminal defence lawyers in Canada, we deem it upon ourselves the duty of raising awareness among our readers. In addition to this, if you are looking for professional defence lawyers who can help you with assault cases , our team of certified professionals can help you get your feet back on solid ground.
What Are Sexual Interference Charges According To The Canadian Criminal Code?
Section 151 of the Criminal Code states that sexual interference occurs when a person directly or indirectly touches for a sexual purpose a person under the age of consent.
To prove that sexual Interference was performed, the crown prosecutor has to prove the following points:
- Touching was performed under a sexual intent. This may be done with any part of the body or an object.
- The act was performed intentionally.
- The offender was aware of the fact that the person was below the age of consent, and reasonable steps to determine the age of the person were not taken.
What Is The Age Of Consent For Sexual Activity According To The Canadian Criminal Code?
The Canadian Criminal Code details that the age of consent is 16. However, if the individual is below the age of 18, you can still be charged with sexual assault if you are in a position of trust or authority.
For those, who do not understand what is meant by the term position of trust or authority, it refers to the roles of parent, stepparent, teacher, boss, caregiver and other similar statuses.
Is Under-Age Sexual Activity Illegal Accoridng To The Canadian Criminal Code?
Close-age individuals who decide to engage in sexual acitivity are exceptions to the law of sexual interference.
For individuals between ages 14 and 15, the sexual activity can be consented to if the partner they decide to get involved in is less than five years older than they are and their relationship with the individual is not that of trust, authority, dependency, or any other form of exploitation.
For individuals between the ages of 12 and 13, the sexual activity can be consented to if the partner they decide to get involved in is less than two years older than they are and their relationship with the individual is not that of trust, authority, dependency, or any other form of exploitation.
Can An Under-Age Individual Consent To Sexual Activity With An Individual Of An Older Age?
As already mentioned, for underage individuals, the only sexual activity they can consent to is in the case that both of them are close-in-age. Hence, no matter how enthusiastically they ask for, if you are more than five years older or are in a relationship with the individual that is of trust, authority, dependency, or any other form of exploitation, you cannot engage in sexual activity with the person.
Note that when an individual is under the age of 16 consent can not be used as a form of defence as falsely perceived by many people. If the victim is under the age of 16 and you are 5 years older than them, they cannot give you consent.
What If The Individual Hides Their Real Age From You?
According to the Canadian Criminal Code, a mere belief that a person is of a consenting age is not a defence to sexual interference. It is imperative that you take reasonable steps to determine your partner’s age.
The Right Course Of Action When Charged With Sexual Assault
The best way to handle an assault charge is to immediately seek legal help from a reputable criminal defence lawyer. For years, we have successfully defended our clients against simple assault charges to the most complex ones, including murder and sexual assault offenses. Learn more about Slaferek Law and its areas of expertise.
Contact us now for more information.