Department of Justice

Sexual Assault

Dealing with Different Crimes

Victim Services

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any sexual activity or touching done to you without your consent or permission.

If you were forced to participate (or afraid if you didn't participate), you didn't give your consent.

Sexual assault – also called sexualized violence – includes more than rape. If you have been kissed, fondled or forced to have intercourse against your will that is sexual assault. It can happen to women and men, girls and boys.

Sexual assault includes:

  • Being touched in places you don’t want to be touched.
  • Being forced to touch someone for a sexual purpose.
  • Being forced into a sexual act.
  • Getting drunk at a party, passing out and someone having sex with you (you can’t consent if you’re passed out).

It is never your fault if it happens. It is a crime.

Options for adults

Talk to someone

It helps to find someone safe to talk to, someone who will listen and support you.

If you keep it a secret, you might cause yourself further emotional and psychological harm. If you keep it a secret, the only person you protect is the person who hurt you. Take care of yourself first!

If you can’t tell someone just yet, write down what happened in case you want to contact Victim Services or the police later on.

Getting medical attention

Medical staff can help with any injuries, do tests for sexually transmitted infections and provide medications. Learn more about what to expect on our getting medical attention page.

A hospital or health centre can also collect evidence of the assault using what’s called a sexual assault evidence kit (also called a ‘kit’ or ‘rape kit’). This kit collects DNA and other evidence. The kit needs to be done right away, before you bath or shower.

You don’t have to report the assault to have the kit done. If you’re unsure about reporting, they can keep evidence from the kit for up to six months. This is called a “Kit on Ice”.

Reporting to the police

It is your decision about whether or not the assault is reported to the police. You might choose to wait a while but remember that it will be easier for the police to investigate the closer it is to the time of the assault.

You can also learn more about what to expect from the police on the reporting to the police page.

Victim Services can help you at any time, whether you decide to report or not. We can explain what will happen if you do report and help you through the experience.

Children and Youth

There are some laws that provide added protection for children and youth that have experienced sexualized violence. There are laws that apply to youth under 21, under 18 and under 16.

To learn more about what is considered a sexualized crime against children and youth, and what to do about it, please visit the Helping Children & Youth page.

There is also a series of pamphlets called Your Body Your Choice - Sexual Assault Prevention for Youth that provides very helpful information on sexual assault for youth.

Supporting someone who has been sexually assaulted

Many who have been sexually assaulted said it was important to have a supportive, non-judgemental person to talk to. Just having someone who’ll listen and believe them can help a great deal.

If you are a support person you might want to read How to support a woman who has been sexually assaulted . This booklet provides information on what the woman might be experiencing, how to be supportive, and what her medical and legal options are.