Sexual assualt and sexual harassment are considered two very serious offences in Ontario and can carry significant penalties if convicted. For some who have consulted with a sexual assault lawyer in Newmarket, they do not know the differences “sexual assault” and “sexual harassment” and that can be a problem when approaching your defence.
Semyonov Law is a law firm run by Vladimir Semyonov — a sexual assault defence lawyer in Newmarket. This article will look at how the Canadian Justice System legally defines sexual assault, the three degrees as categorized in Ontario, and if sexual harassment is a form of assault in of itself.
What Defines Sexual Assault Under the Canadian Justice System?
According to the Canadian Justice System, sexual assault is defined as ‘any unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature’. It generally refers to behaviour involving sexual violence such as unwanted kissing or sexual intercourse. Factors such as the use of force, threats, intimidation, and coercion also fall under this term because it connects to making you do something sexual that you do not want to. Sexual Assault is a serious crime committed in cirucmstance that violate the integrity of the victim involved.
On the other hand, sexual harassment is defined as an engagement in a course of unwelcome conduct based on your sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Examples of such behaviours often involve unwelcome sexual advances, touching, verbal comments, jokes, threats and discriminatory remarks about someone’s gender. Certain types of comments or unwelcome behaviour is often based on the response of the person subjected, even when they do not explicitly object to it.
What Are the 3 Degrees of Sexual Assault in Ontario?
Sexual assault is a very serious and punishable offence in Ontario and penalties are determined by varying degrees of sexual violence enacted towards the victim. There are three levels of sexual assault that you should be aware of when approaching your case:
Level 1: Sexual activity in this area refers to any such action or bodily contact that is forced on another person without their consent. This can include sexual activity that goes against the wishes of a person to unwanted kissing, touching, or oral sex. It’s also important to note that this type of sexual assault leaves minor to no physical injury towards the victim. If convicted for a level 1 sexual assault, it could result in up to 10 years in prison.
Level 2: Sexual assault in the level 2 category often involves the perpetrator using or threatening to use a weapon that will cause bodily harm to the victim, their friends, or family members. It can also apply to when the person commits the assault with another person or multiple assailants. Conviction for a level 2 sexual assault can result in a penalty of up to 14 years in prison.
Level 3: Sexual assault in this category is considered aggravated sexual assault and carries much more wieght than other degrees. The reason is because sexual assault of this nature invovles serious wounds, maims, or disfigurement of the victim. It also takes into account if the unwanted sexual encounter endangered the victim’s life. Aconviction of a level 3 sexual assault can reuslt in sentecne of life in prison.
Is Sexual Harassment a Form of Assault?
As mentioned previously, sexual harassment often involves discriminatory comments and behaviour or unwanted touching that never goes so far as sexual intercourse. While it is not considered as serious as a sexual assault charge, sexual harassment is just as consequential because it can take place in a professional workspace or area where such behaviour should not be expected.
A 2014 poll has shown that around 43% of women in the workplace reported cases of sexual harassment and were more than twice as likely to experience it than men. Because of changes in attitudes and regulations, more women are speaking out against sexual harassment and providing meaningful dialogue to enact serious change. Moreover, sexual harassers are now more subject to both public and private scrutiny if they have sexually harassed someone.
If you have questions on sexual assault charges and need immediate defence for a case, please do not hesitate to call me at (647)-292-3377 or contact me HERE.