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Sexual Assault Survivors


What to do if you are Assaulted

What to Expect if You Report

Canadian Law on Sexual Assault

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It is up to you to decide whether to tell the police about the assault.

If You do Report, Expect...

  • Strong Emotions: some people feel empowerment, most are confused, and most re-experience their initial reactions which could have been anger, depression, guilt, anxiety, fear, etc. Sexual assault is a crime of power and control, and some people feel that they regain some control by reporting and/or brining legal proceedings.

  • There are programs available to put you into contact with someone who will accompany you to court for support - the person is usually a lawyer or a counselor and there is no fee - if you would like more information, with no obligations, please e-mail us.

  • There is no set time for reporting. From a collecting evidence point of view, the sooner the better.

  • The police will take a statement from you. They will collect what evidence they can, including a medical report.

  • If there is enough evidence, the police will press charges. Once charges have been laid against the assailant, you cannot withdraw them.

  • The assailant will usually not be in jail pending trial, but you can ask the judge to put conditions on the assailant's release if you are afraid. Such conditions can include forbidding the assailant from going near your home or your work and forbidding the assailant from speaking to you.

  • In cases of sexual assault, gross indecency and incest you have the right to request a non-publication order, in which case the judge must order that your identity not be published or broadcast by the media.

  • There may be a preliminary hearing at which you may have to give evidence. It is here that a judge will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.

  • If there is enough evidence, the judge will set a date for trial - usualy months away.

  • If the assailant pleads not guilty, you will probably have to take the stand at trial as possibly the only witness for the prosecution. One of the main issues will be whether or not you consented to the assault(s) - this part of the trial will likely be the hardest on you.

  • The assailant can face up to 10 years in prison. Other options are fine, discharge, probation. If a weapon was involved, the assailant may be given a life sentence. You may submit a victim impact statement to tell how the offence has affected you and your family.