Consequences of a Conviction for Sexual Assault

If you have been charged with a sexual offence, the consequences of a conviction can be serious. In all but the most minor of offences, some form of jail sentence is likely to be imposed. The length of the sentence can vary. In cases of date rape, the sentence is likely to be between two and five years. In cases of ongoing abuse of children, particularly if there are more than one victim, the sentence can be much higher than five years.

In addition, in most situations you will need to provide a sample of DNA for the DNA databank and will end up on the Sex Offender Registry.

If your case involves a victim who is under the age of sixteen then you may also be subject to a special order pursuant to s. 161 of the Criminal Code. A judge may make an order prohibiting you from:

(a) attending a public park or public swimming area where persons under the age of 16 years are present or can reasonably be expected to be present, or a daycare centre, schoolground, playground or community centre;

(a.1) being within two kilometres, or any other distance specified in the order, of any dwelling-house where the victim identified in the order ordinarily resides or of any other place specified in the order;

(b) seeking, obtaining or continuing any employment, whether or not the employment is remunerated, or becoming or being a volunteer in a capacity, that involves being in a position of trust or authority towards persons under the age of 16 years;

(c) having any contact – including communicating by any means – with a person who is under the age of 16 years, unless the offender does so under the supervision of a person whom the court considers appropriate; or

(d) using the Internet or other digital network, unless the offender does so in accordance with conditions set by the court.

The prohibition may be for life or for any shorter duration that the court considers desirable. Most recently, the Supreme Court of Canada has reiterated that the purpose of the s.161 order is to address the nature and degree of risk that a particular offender poses to children once he is released into the community. By their nature, the order should be flexible and tailored to the particular offender with specific and reasonable terms that attempt to minimize that risk.


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