Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment

What is Sexual Abuse?

We look at the legal definition of sexual abuse as defined by the Criminal Code of Canada in Section 273. Sexual activity is only legal when both parties consent. Section 273.1 defines consent as the voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question. Sexual activity of any kind is only lawful if the person affirmatively communicated their consent either through words or conduct. The responsibility for ensuring there is consent is on the person who is initiating or pursuing the sexual activity.

Contact a Lawyer

If you have been sexually harassed or assaulted, we understand the process of addressing your case is painful and arduous. Our lawyers are here to help you understand your rights, the legal system, and provide you with clear direction on how to file your case. To talk to a lawyer, contact our legal team for a confidential review of your case.

If you have been wrongfully accused, our lawyers can give you professional legal guidance regarding the allegations. Contact our legal team to discuss the nature of your case and understand what your options may be.

According to the Criminal Code there is no legal consent when:

  • A person says/does something to show they do not consent to sexual activity
  • A person says /does something to show they do not agree to continue a sexual activity that has already started
  • A person is incapable of consenting to sexual activity (example: unconscious)
  • The consent is a result of someone abusing a position of trust, power or authority
  • A person consents on someone else’s behalf.

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault falls under the category of sexual abuse. It is generally defined when the non-consensual sexual activity is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent.

What is Sexual Harassment?

We look at the legal definition of sexual harassment as defined by the Northwest Territories or Alberta Human Rights Commission. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination. This kind of discrimination is based on the gender, including transgender and is prohibited under the Alberta Human Rights Act. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual behaviour that, directly or indirectly, adversely affects or threatens to affect, any person’s employment security, working conditions, prospects for promotion or potential earnings; or prevents a person from gaining employment, living accommodations or public service.

Sexual Abuse Services in Canada and Alberta

AASAS – Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services

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The primary work of the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services is to provide leadership, coordination and collaboration of sexual assault services in Alberta. The AASAS member agencies and services are responsible for day to day front line delivery of services within their local communities and regional areas (see AASAS Member map).  To contact a sexual assault centre, visit Get Help.

Victim Services Alberta

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The Alberta Police Based Victim Services Association (*APBVSA) is the largest, exclusively police-based, victim services association in Canada.  Membership includes all 126 police-based victim service programs operating in Alberta.

Saffron Sexual Assault Centre

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SAFFRON Sexual Assault Centre’s mandate is to provide counselling services to persons who have suffered from sexual assault, abuse and sexual violence, as well as those person who have been affected by sexual assault (e.g. support persons, family members, etc., of someone who has experienced sexual assault) and also to provide proactive education regarding sexual assault, abuse and sexual violence to all individuals and to change attitudes, beliefs and myths surrounding sexual assault.

CASAC – Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres

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A Pan Canadian group of sexual assault centres who have come together to implement the legal, social and attitudinal changes necessary to prevent, and ultimately eradicate, rape and sexual assault.