Sexual Assault or Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence

  • Describes any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality.
  • Includes sexual abuse and sexual assault.
  • Anyone, regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation can fall victim to sexual violence.
  • Sexual violence can profoundly impact physical and mental wellbeing of individuals and communities.

This violence takes different forms including sexual abuse and sexual assault. Acts of sexual violence include: unwanted sexual comments or advances; coercion of another person’s sexuality by physical or psychological intimidation; and/or the denial of another person’s sexual decision-making rights. Anyone, regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation can fall victim to sexual violence. Sexual violence can profoundly impact physical and mental wellbeing of individuals and communities.

Sexual assault

  • Is a form of sexual violence.
  • Is any type of unwanted sexual act, from unwanted touching to penetration without consent.
  • Includes the threat of sexual touching without consent
  • Is a crime

Sexual Assault is a form of Sexual Violence and is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual act done by one person to another that violates the sexual integrity of that person and involves a range of behaviours from any unwanted touching to penetration. Sexual assault is characterized by a broad range of behaviours that involve the use of force, threats, or control towards a person, which makes that person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened, threatened, or that is carried out in circumstances in which the person has not freely agreed, consented to, or is incapable of consenting to.