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The Law

This page is a summary of the areas of the Criminal Code of Canada dealing with sexual offences.  It has been written in a form that is meant to be easy to understand.

If you require more detailed information on sexual offences please refer to the Department of Justice Canada website Criminal Code of Canada
PART V: SEXUAL OFFENCES, PUBLIC MORALS AND DISORDERLY CONDUCT, sections: 151, 152, 153, 153.1, 159, 173, 271, 272, 273.
Last Criminal Code of Canada Part V link update: December 5, 2012.

DEFINITION

The Criminal Code of Canada definition of Assault:
A person commits an assault when:

  • without the consent of another person, a person applies force intentionally to another person, directly or indirectly;

  • a person attempts or threatens, by act or gesture, to apply force to another person, if a person has present ability to effect their purpose; or causes that other person to believe, upon reasonable grounds, that they have present ability to effect their purpose;

  • while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, a person accosts or impedes another person or begs.

The definition of Assault is used to define Sexual Assault because they are exactly the same except for the sexual part.

SECTIONS OF THE CRIMINAL CODE

Section 271  –  Sexual Assault
Section 272  –  Sexual Assault with a Weapon, Threats to a Third Party or
Causing Bodily Harm
Section 273  –  Aggravated Sexual Assault
Section 151  –  Sexual Interference
Section 152  –  Invitation to Sexual Touching
Section 153  –  Sexual Exploitation
Section 153.1  –  Sexual Exploitation of Person with a Disability
Section 159  –  Anal Intercourse
Section 173.2  –  Indecent Acts – Exposure of Genitals to Person Under
16 Years of Age


SEXUAL ASSAULT (Basic Summaries)

Section 271 – Sexual Assault:
Somebody touches you in a sexual way on purpose, directly or indirectly, without your consent.

Section 272 – Sexual Assault With A Weapon, Threats to a Third Party or Causing Bodily Harm:
Somebody sexually assaults you and is armed with, or uses, a weapon, or, forces you to have sex by threatening to do injury to somebody else, (for example: they threaten to hurt your brother or sister if you don't do it), or, they injure you.

Section 273 – Aggravated Sexual Assault
Somebody sexually assaults you and they cause serious injuries to you.

Back to: SECTIONS OF THE CRIMINAL CODE

OTHER SEXUAL OFFENCES (Basic Summaries)

Section 151 – Sexual Interference:
If you are under 16 years old, it is a criminal offence for someone to touch your body for a sexual purpose with a part of their body or any object, directly or indirectly.

Section 152 – Invitation to Sexual Touching:
If you are under 16 years old, it is a criminal offence for someone to invite, counsel or incite you to touch, directly or indirectly, their body, the body of someone else or your own body, for a sexual purpose (with a part of your body or any object).

Section 153 – Sexual Exploitation:
If you are 16 years old or older, but under 18, it is a criminal offence for someone in a position of trust or authority to have sexual contact with you even if you consent to it.  For example, someone in a position of trust or authority such as a minister, coach, employer, teacher, etc.

Section 153.1 – Sexual Exploitation of Person With a Disability:
If you are mentally or physically challenged (any age), it is a criminal offence if, without your consent, someone invites, counsels or incites you to touch, directly or indirectly, their body, the body of someone else or your own body, for a sexual purpose (with a part of your body or any object) if the offender is in a position of trust or authority towards you or if you are dependent on the offender.

Section 159 – Anal Intercourse:
If you are under 18, and not married to each other, it is a criminal offence to have anal sex even if both persons consent.  You must be over 18, or married and both consenting.  It must be done in private and only by two people (if there are three people involved then the law says it's not in private).

Section 173.2 – Indecent Acts – Exposure of Genitals to Person Under
16 Years of Age:

If you are under 16 years old, it is a criminal offence for someone to expose his or her genital organs to you for a sexual purpose.

Back to: SECTIONS OF THE CRIMINAL CODE

CONSENT (Your Rights About Saying Yes or No)

The law about consent can be complicated.
There are times when the offender sexually touches the victim without asking for permission.  But, sometimes they do ask and the victim says "no" but the offender touches them anyway.  If you say "no" then it means exactly that.

Your consent can't be forced.  The courts can decide that consent was not given if the offender uses force, threats, fear of bodily harm, or by lying about what they wanted to do with you, or, if you are unable to give consent because you're mentally challenged.

Even if you do say yes, there are some cases when the other person can still get charged. Sometimes, you're not legally allowed to consent to have sex (Canadian Criminal Code 2009):

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