Sexual assault has been a prevailing topic of conversation for most Canadians in the wake of the #Metoo moment. Police services and support groups have tried to be honest with victims about some of the challenges they may face.
Its 2017 report, based on a national survey of more than 30,000 Canadian university students, found 51% of students were sexually harassed in 2016, with 26% saying they were sexually harassed at university (or travelling to or from).
Here are some things to note about sexual assault investigations in Canada:
9.Services for victims
Services for victims do not end after the court proceedings do. People who need help coping with trauma in the aftermath of an assault can continue to access community support services.
8.Sexual assault conviction
A sexual assault conviction can result in various sentences, including probation, house arrest, an intermittent sentence, and jail time.
Most offenders will not serve their full sentence in jail. If an offender is paroled, they must serve their sentence under the supervision and specified conditions in the community. You can register to be notified of parole hearings.
7.Sexual assault investigation
A sexual assault investigation can take anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years. Once the case hits the court system, a bail hearing, preliminary inquiry, trial, and sentencing are part of the legal process.
If you report an incident to police and charges are not laid, that does not mean the police do not believe your claims. Investigators may opt not to press charges because there is not enough evidence to prove the charge in court.
5.Victims knowing the Attacker
Many victims are familiar with their attacker. According to Statistics Canada’s information in 2003, in cases reported to police, 80 percent of sexual assault survivors know the person who assaulted them.
4. Majority of sexual assaults are not reported
The vast majority of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. According to Statistics Canada, only about six percent of sexual assaults are brought to sex crime investigators.
The Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres cites another stat on its website, saying that only 40 percent of sexual assaults reported to police result in charges and of those, about two-thirds result in convictions.
3.Unsolved sexual assault cases
Unsolved sexual assault cases are never closed. If police cannot locate an offender or press charges, that case will remain open and active. If more information comes to light, an arrest can still be made.
If you come forward to police to report an incident of sexual assault, you are not obligated to move forward with a criminal case. If you do not go ahead with a criminal investigation, the police will still connect you with support services to help with your recovery.
Services include face-to-face counselling, legal and medical services, personal safety planning and public education.
1.No statute of limitations
There is no statute of limitations for sexual assault. Several women who have come forward to report sexual assaults in the past month are citing incidents that occurred more than a decade ago.