Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault includes any form of sexual activity without a person's consent. This may include:

  • Any kissing, fondling, touching, oral/anal sex or sexual intercourse without consent 
  • Not stopping sexual contact when asked to
  • Forcing someone to engage in sexual intercourse or any other sexual act (Department of Justice Canada, 2005b).
Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

Sexual Abuse and Exploitation involves using a child for sexual purposes. Examples of child sexual abuse include fondling, inviting a child to touch or be touched sexually, intercourse, rape, incest, sodomy, exhibitionism, or involving a child in prostitution or pornography (Department of Justice Canada, 2005a). 

Child Sexual Abuse

(as defined by the “Who Do You Tell?”™ Program): Child sexual abuse is when someone bigger or older looks at or touches the private parts of a child’s body for no good reason or when someone bigger or older asks a child to look at or touch their private parts. It is also not okay for someone bigger or older to show a child pictures, magazines, videos, or websites of people not wearing any clothes or people doing sexual things. It is also not okay to talk to a child in a sexual way (AASAS First Responder Facilitator Manual, 2011).


Stalking includes being followed or spied on, receiving threatening and/or unwanted phone calls, e-mails, letters and unwanted gifts. This is repeated on numerous occasions and in general serves no legitimate purpose but to cause the recipient to fear for their own safety (Department of Justice Canada, 2005c).

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome behaviour, sexual in nature that adversely affects, or threatens to affect, directly or indirectly, a person's job security, working conditions or prospects for promotion or earnings; or prevents a person from getting a job, living accommodations or any kind of public service. 

  • suggestive remarks, sexual jokes or compromising invitations; 
  • verbal abuse; 
  • visual display of suggestive images; 
  • leering or whistling; 
  • patting, rubbing or other unwanted physical contact; 
  • outright demands for sexual favours; and 
  • physical assault (Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission, 2004). 
Intimate Relationship

An intimate relationship is defined as between opposite-sex or same-sex partners. These relationships vary in duration and legal formality, and include:

  • Current and former dating relationships;
  • Current and former common-law relationships;
  • Current and former married relationships;
  • Persons who are the parents of one or more children, regardless of their marital status or whether they have lived together at any time (Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, 2014). Source
Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is defined as any use of physical or sexual force, actual or threatened, in an intimate relationship. It may include a single act of violence, or a number of acts forming a pattern of abuse through the use of assaultive and controlling behavior. The pattern of abuse may include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Criminal harassment (stalking)
  • Threats to harm children, other family members, pets, and property

The violence is used to intimidate, humiliate or frighten a partner of an intimate relationship, or to make them powerless (Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, 2014). Source

Family Violence

Family Violence is considered to be any form of abuse, mistreatment or neglect that a child or adult experiences from a family member, or from someone with whom they have an intimate relationship. The following pages provide information about family violence, the laws relating to family violence and the kind of help that is available to someone experiencing family violence (Department of Justice Canada, n.d.). Source

Dating Violence

Dating Violence includes both casual dates and individuals in long-term dating relationships. All three forms of abuse – physical, sexual, and emotional – can coexist, or the abuse can be characterized by any one of the three (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2006). SARC and KCA add financial and psychological abuse to this definition. Source

A Healthy Relationship

A healthy relationship between two people is surrounded by mutual respect, equality, trust, communication, and freedom. Each person is allowed to be an individual within the relationship. Both people grow independently of each other and as a couple (See It Stop It, n.d.). Source.

An Unhealthy Relationship

An unhealthy relationship is characterized by a cycle of violence. The abuser uses disrespect, fear, jealousy and possessiveness to create an imbalance of power. This is abuse. The cycle is difficult to break once in motion. Cycles of violence include:

  • Tension: Criticism, yelling, swearing, angry gestures, coercion, or threats
  • Violence: Physical and sexual attacks, or threats
  • Seduction: Apologies, promises to change, or gifts (See It Stop It, n.d.) Source

Coercion the action or practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats (Oxford Dictionaries, n.d.). Source


Subsection 273.1(1) defines consent as the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question. Conduct short of a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity does not constitute consent as a matter of law (Department of Justice Canada, n.d.). Source

Age of Consent

Age of consent the age of consent to sexual activity is 16. This means that a 16 year old person may consent to sexual activity with anyone who is their age or older (exceptions are below).

  • Children under 12 years old cannot consent to sexual activity.
  • Children who are 12 and 13 years old may consent to sexual activity with someone no more than two years older, less a day.
  • Children who are 14 and 15 years old may consent to sexual activity with someone no more than five years older, less a day (Department of Justice, n.d.). Source