What Is the Difference Between Sexual Assault and Sexual Interference?

May 30th, 2021

In Canada there is a distinction between sexual assault and sexual interference. In the article we will take a brief look at each crime.

Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault is defined as any sexual activity or sexual contact in which one or more persons is/are not consenting to the activity. Here’s what is notable:

  1. Sexual assault can happen between strangers, but often it happens between people who know each other.
  2. One cannot give consent if one is impaired or drugged or not competent to make decisions. There is no implied consent. If someone says “no,” and the activity continues, that is still sexual assault.
  3. If someone is bullied, coerced, intimidated, or threatened to comply or participate, that is still sexual assault.
  4. The age of consent is 16, but there are some exceptions to that.

Sexual Interference

Sexual interference is any kind of direct or indirect sexual contact with a child under the age of 16. This includes not just sexual acts but any contact that has a sexual purpose.

The point here is that children cannot give consent. So, anyone making sexual contact with a child for any reason is committing a crime.

These are both serious crimes throughout Canada, not just in British Columbia. If you have been charged with one of these crimes or suspect you will be charged, then engage a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights and freedoms. Choose a lawyer who specializes in this type of criminal law because the penalties are harsh if you are convicted.

Gagan Nahal is a criminal defence lawyer based in Surrey, British Columbia, although he has represented clients across Canada. He works vigorously and tirelessly defending his clients.

If you have any questions about this article or you would like to talk to Mr. Nahal, please call him directly at (604) 527-4769.