What Is Considered Sexual Assault in Calgary?
Sexual assault is a serious criminal offence. It refers to any non-consensual sexual act or behaviour that occurs without the explicit agreement of all parties involved. In Calgary, Courts recognize that consent must be freely given at the time of the sexual activity and it must be specific to the sexual acts that occur. There is no legal requirement that the consent is enthusiastic but it may be a factor in determining if consent was freely given. Any sexual activity without consent is considered sexual assault, irrespective of the relationship between the parties or the circumstances surrounding the incident.
If you’re facing sexual assault charges, contact a Calgary sexual assault lawyer immediately to get started on your defence.
Types of Sexual Assault
Sexual assault can manifest in various forms, each with distinct characteristics and degrees of severity. The following are some common examples:
- Rape: This involves the non-consensual penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth by the offender’s body part or an object.
- Sexual Touching: Unwanted touching or groping of intimate areas without consent. It includes groping, fondling or forcibly touching the victim’s genitals or breasts.
- Forced Sexual Acts: Any sexual act forced upon an individual, such as oral sex or anal intercourse, is considered sexual assault.
- Sexual interference: When the sexual activity involves a youth and the accused is an adult, then the sexual activity is considered sexual assault. If the accused is in a position of authority over the victim, then it can also be considered sexual assault.
- Drug-facilitated Sexual Assault: This occurs when a perpetrator uses drugs or substances to incapacitate the victim, rendering them unable to provide consent.
Sexual harassment, which encompasses unwelcome sexual advances, comments or gestures that create a hostile or intimidating environment, does not, on its own, constitute sexual assault. Physical touching or a threat thereof is required for conduct to legally constitute sexual assault.
Consequences of Sexual Assault Crimes
In Calgary, sexual assault is treated seriously by courts and will lead to significant legal consequences upon conviction. While the repercussions for sexual assault crimes vary depending on the severity of the offence and the specific circumstances involved, such as:
Individuals convicted of sexual assault can face significant prison sentences, ranging from several months to many years, depending on the gravity of the crime.
In very rare instances, offenders may receive probation instead of imprisonment. Probation involves strict supervision and adherence to conditions such as attending counselling, participating in rehabilitative programs and avoiding contact with the victim. Often, probation will be ordered in addition to jail time.
Registration as a Sex Offender
Convicted individuals will be required to register as sex offenders, which entails providing personal information to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A sex offender has to report to their local law enforcement agency annually to comply with this condition. While this is intended to safeguard communities and prevent re-offending,it is not open to the public.
Convicted or not, an individual may have to comply with a restraining order. A restraining order prohibits the individual from contacting or being near the victim. These orders are an additional safeguard for the victim’s safety and well-being and can be ordered by civil court.
What to Do When You’re Accused of Sexual Assault
If you have been accused of a sexual assault crime, taking proactive steps to address your situation is essential.
- Seek Legal Representation: A Calgary sexual assault lawyer can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the legal proceedings. They will work diligently to protect your rights, mount a strong defence, and explore all available options.
- Get Pre-Charge Advice: If you are not yet criminally charged but the police have contacted you about an incident involving sexual activity, make sure that you get a sexual assault lawyer to talk to you about protecting yourself from any possible criminal charges.
- Comply with Legal Obligations: It is crucial to comply with any court-ordered obligation, such as attending court dates, going in for fingerprinting, and any no-contact and no-go conditions. Failing to comply with these obligations can lead to further charges and possible jail time.
- Safeguard any relevant Records: Make sure that you keep any electronic or digital records that are relevant to your relationship and interaction with the alleged victim. You want to ensure that these records are available, should they prove that the victim is lying or misleading the police about what happened.
- Engage in Rehabilitative Programs: If it will help you, you may want to participate in therapy or counselling programs. In addition to facilitating personal growth, it can demonstrate a genuine desire to change. This will help you with sentencing if you are convicted or plead guilty.
Sexual Assault Lawyers in Calgary
If you are charged with a sexual assault offence, retaining a skilled criminal defence lawyer's counsel is essential for navigating the legal complexities and protecting your rights. Richard Muenz is an experienced and highly respected Calgary sexual assault lawyer and he will provide you with the best possible representation.