What is the Sentence for Sexual Assault in Canada?

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Sexual assault is a broader term in the Criminal Code of Canada. There are many different sexual assault types and variables t. Because of this, each case will result in a different punishment for sexual assault.

However, keep in mind that the charge of sexual assault is terrible. Situations are complicated enough due to the variety of circumstances that are involved. According to the Criminal Code of Canada, someone can issue a sexual assault for unwanted or unconsented sexual interaction.

This article describes what the punishment for sexual assault in Canada is.

Factors to Consider Regarding Sexual Assault Sentence in Canada

As was already stated, several criteria will be analyzed to set the sentence for a sexual assault charge. Many severe and complicated aspects have an impact on the sentence.

Let’s know about it in the details below:

Mitigating Factors

Mitigating factors result in a less severe sentence. The prosecution will ultimately determine whether to proceed speedily in a sexual assault investigation if it has mitigating circumstances.

It indicates that the prosecution won’t bring you before the court or charge you with a crime. Alternatively, it can happen through an accusation or a reduced sentence.

The following represent the most crucial mitigating factors in a sexual assault case:

First-time offender

The prosecution can sentence less penalty if the person is a first-time offender.


The trial will completely change if the defendant is a minor.

Early guilty plea

The court will lessen the penalty if the criminal enters an early guilty plea. Early guilty confessions lessen the severity of the sentence since they express remorse for the offence.

Additionally, it will spare a lot of the court, which benefits them. Remember to speak with a lawyer to get ready for a guilty plea.

Aggravating Factors

The penalty will be harsh due to such types of reasons. Secondly, this suggests that the accusation is serious. One may receive a lesser or more severe sentence depending on such elements.

As we mentioned earlier, there are many more aggravating aspects than mitigating ones. Check out here what typically aggravates people:

Age of the victim

If the assault were on a child, you would probably face a harsh penalty.

Whether the Accused Was Aware of the Victim’s Age

The harshness of the sentence will depend on whether the victim was a child when the sexual abuse occurred. It will also affect the sentence if the convicted are unaware of the victim’s age. But that needs to be proved.

Victim’s weakness

Victims’ weakness is taken into account when enforcing the law. Things work differently for those who are physically or mentally vulnerable.

The victim might be affected by drugs, for instance. Additionally, the victim may have physical or psychological limitations. If the abuser were an adult, they would face harsh punishment for harming someone with a weak point.

Violence Level

The level of the offence is taken into consideration while enforcing Canada’s sexual assault rules. It indicates that the abuser used high violence to commit the crime if the victim sustains major injuries.

Degree of the Authority of the Abuser

Misuse of any form of power is absolutely prohibited in Canada. If the perpetrator sexually abuses a victim while holding a position of authority, they are abusing that position. Therefore, the penalty will be harsh.

Use of Any Weapon

Using a weapon in a sexual assault crime indicates that the abuser used serious violence. Then, the court will deliver the sentence more quickly.


This specific offence has a significant unfavourable impact on a lawsuit and carries a severe punishment.

Probability of Repeating the Crime

A first-time offender may not receive an increased sentence. However, the perpetrator will face harsh sentences if they repeat the same crime.

What is the Minimum Sentence for Sexual Assault in Canada?

The court might issue a less severe penalty when someone breaks the Criminal Code, which is a minimum sentence.

Courts are authorized to enforce stronger penalties, but there is no permission to impose penalties that are less than the average. The minimum punishments for sexual assault are outlined in Section 271 of the Criminal Code of Canada, depending on a few aggravating factors:

6 months or 1 year of Imprisonment

The average punishment for sexual assault is six months in prison when the victim is a minor, and they resolve the trial quickly. However, the prison sentence will increase to a year when the prosecution chooses to pursue the case through an investigation.

4 or 7 years of Imprisonment

The minimum sentence for aggravated sexual assault involving weapons or firearms and harm to the victim is four years in jail.

The maximum punishment is seven years in violent situations involving risk to one’s life, violent criminals who repeat the same crime, or other aggravating circumstances.

What Does the Law of Consent in Canada Involve?

Criminal law requires primary concern to determine if there is permission while engaging in sexual behaviour. It will consider sexual assault if there is no participation.

According to the Canadian Criminal Code, the following situations show that there was no permission for the sexual encounter:

  1. The victim had no willingness.
  2. The victim was sleepy, had a cognitive disability, or was unconscious due to intoxication.
  3. A person in an authority role exploits their power to engage in non-consensual sex.
  4. While participating in a sexual act or performing it, the victim showed signs of consent through words or actions.

Remember that the Criminal Code is not the only source for this listing. There may be a lot of other ways to force someone and declare your disapproval of sexual activity.

The law demands that parties get legally enforceable consent. Also, one should immediately agree when the opposing side withdraws their consent.

Moreover, it is not a valid defence if the offender admitted to the crime while intoxicated, ignorant, or irresponsible.

Final Words

The form and seriousness of the accusations of sexual assault regarding someone decide whether the punishment would be minimal or not. It might take years, based on the situation. 

The very first step you should take if you are charged with a false sexual assault accusation is to consult with a skilled criminal defence lawyer. Or else these cases are often difficult to resolve.