Sexual Assault vs Sexual Interference in Canada

Table of Contents:


In Canada, any non-consensual sexual advances can result in allegations of sexual assault. When the alleged wrongdoing involves a minor, this can be classified as a crime of sexual interference with its own set of consequences.

Both sexual assault and sexual interference are serious offences which can result in grave punishments, application of minimum sentences, long-term incarceration, criminal records, and registration with the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR).

What Is Considered Sexual Assault?

The Criminal Code of Canada defines sexual assault as a threat or application of force on another person in a sexual context.

Criminal law differentiates between several types of sexual assault, including sexual assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, and aggravated sexual assault with a firearm involving a danger to life, wounds, and other aggravating factors. In addition, Section 271 of the Code specifically mentions sexual assault against minors under 16 years of age, determining aggravated consequences including minimum sentences for both summary and indictable convictions.

What Is Sexual Interference in Canada?

The crime of sexual interference is defined in Section 151 of the Criminal Code and applies only when the victim is under 16 years of age, and includes touching directly or indirectly with a part of the body or with an object on any part of the victim’s body for a sexual purpose.

Unlike sexual assault against a minor, sexual interference is a more specific crime which occurs when there is a sexual purpose. For sexual assault charges, the touching must be sexual in nature and doesn’t have to be aimed towards sexual gratification or similar motives.

These differences between sexual assault and sexual interference determine the way the Crown will lay the charges, and will define available defences in each case.

Common Defences of Sexual Assault and Sexual Interference

Sexual assault and sexual interference are serious crimes, and a conviction of either of these offences carries more than just prison time and a criminal record. Those convicted of these offences may find themselves unable to get a job, find housing for rent, and face other negative treatment from society.

Some of the most common defences against sexual assault include:

  • that there was no sexual activity, or
  • the sexual activity was consensual, or
  • that the offender had an honest but mistaken belief that the other person gave their consent.

In cases of sexual interference, the Crown must prove that the touching was intentional, had a sexual purpose, and that the accused knew that the victim was a minor or failed to take steps to identify their age. Consequently, the defence strategies for sexual interference charge use the arguments that:

  • there was no sexual purpose,
  • touching was accidental and not intentional,
  • the accused has taken all reasonable steps to determine the victim’s age.

Both sexual assault and sexual interference cases are highly context-specific.

When Is Consent a Defence in Sexual Interference Charges?

Consent is rarely a defence used in sexual interference cases, as the complainant, who is under 16 years of age, cannot legally consent to sexual activity with the exception of specific cases. It is also not a defence to state that the accused believed the complainant was above legal age, unless taking necessary steps to ascertain it.

Consent can only be used as a defence in sexual interference cases in a limited number of cases defined by so-called close-in-age exceptions, which provide that:

  • children who are 12 or 13 years old can consent to sexual activity with someone who is less than two years older (for example, a 14-year-old),
  • minors who are 14 or 15 years old can consent to sexual activity with another person who is less than 5 years older.

In addition to the specified age gap, the above close-in-age exceptions also presume that there is no relationship of trust, authority, dependency, or other exploitation of the young person.

Penalties for Sexual Assault and Sexual Interference

The penalties for sexual assault vary on the type and severity of the offence, and are defined in Sections 271-273 of the Criminal Code. In sexual assault cases involving a minor, the court must impose minimal prison sentences of six months in cases proceeding summarily, or up to one year if the Crown prosecutes by indictment.

Meanwhile, sexually assaulting a minor can lead to the maximum punishment of a term of two years in summary conviction and up to 14 years in the indictment process. Where sexual assault was aggravated by the use of a firearm, wounded, or endangered someone’s life, the maximum penalty is life in prison.

The charge of sexual interference can result in the application of a minimum sentence starting from 90 days in summary proceedings and up to one year in the indictment process. The maximum punishment for sexual interference is two years for a summary conviction and up to 14 years when the Crown proceeds by indictment.

Contact Vilkhov Law Today

When facing charges of sexual assault and sexual interference, it is essential to retain a professional criminal lawyer as soon as possible. A qualified legal professional can make all the difference in criminal proceedings and ensure the most favourable outcome.

At Vilkhov Law, our criminal defence team works tirelessly to evaluate all the evidence against our clients, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and build a robust legal defence. If you are facing charges of sexual assault or sexual interference in Toronto, contact Vilkhov Law today for a free and confidential consultation about how we can help in your case.

At Vilkhov Law, our team is here for you to help you access the legal services you need in the following areas:

Criminal Lawyer in Toronto
Criminal Lawyer in Etobicoke
Criminal Lawyer in Scarborough
Criminal Lawyer in Newmarket
Criminal Lawyer in Brampton
Criminal Lawyer in Mississauga

By |2024-04-04T14:02:41+00:00April 1st, 2024|Sexual Assault|

4.8/5 - (20 votes)

Criminal Lawyers Association
Toronnto Lawyers Association
Law Society of Ontario
Criminal Lawyers Association
Toronnto Lawyers Association
Law Society of Ontario
Excellent5.0 Based on 125 reviews fromJessie TeixeiraJessie Teixeira ★★★★★ I would like to thank Igor Vilkhov and his dedicated team for their professional assistance in dealing with my matter. I could not be happier about the way my matter was handled and am very satisfied with the result.Annabella FusaroAnnabella Fusaro ★★★★★ Igor Vilkhov was an amazing Lawyer. I met him through one of his colleagues and one thing I can say he fights for your rights and he doesn’t amazing job. He was so patient and kind with me. I’m very grateful for the outcome of my case. May god bless Igor And the amazing work he does.AnnabellaXuan LinXuan Lin ★★★★★ Hello my name is Leon I got charged with SA in 2021 in relation to a young complainant. I have been looking about 10 lawyer all of then is bad and lie all they care is money never help my case .Until I meet Igor I told him what happened he told me no worry he will try his best for help me . And this year May I won the case I just can't believe it Igor is best lawyer he is legendary . Guy you should believe in Igor he is really good. His preparation was meticulous and was acquitted. He saved my life.ChrisChris ★★★★★ The Best Lawyer In my opinion. A legal Tactician in the modern day criminal justice court systems. Very professional service. Great Techniques and Extremely knowledgable and Highly talented and recommended team.I’m 37 old Newfoundlander who is not well spoken but this was an easy to write.Nikolai Wheeler-BalazevNikolai Wheeler-Balazev ★★★★★ I want to start off this review by thanking Mr.Vilkhov for handling my case, Igor got my case resolved in a timely manor, i had previously been going to court for my case for about a year, and when i had gotten Mr.Vilkhov as my lawyer he had my case resolved and all my charges withdrawn in a matter of days. If anybody is looking for a lawyer i would urge you to go with Mr.Vilkhov, he knows what he is doing and knows how to do it quickly.Shannan HarrisonShannan Harrison ★★★★★ Mr. Vilkhov is an outstanding lawyer, I just avoided a lengthy jail sentence because of him. I literally cannot believe what he was able to do for me. The judge in court praised him for his work, thank you so much.Anoop RAnoop R ★★★★★ One of the best law firms in town! Highly recommended. Just retain them. They'll do the rest.ARRARR ★★★★★ I was falsely accused and charged with a serious offence. All it took was just one phone call from the complainant. As an immigrant, it was a nightmare. Fortunately Igor was the first person whom I contacted and I knew he was the one and I retained him. Beware of the lawyers who try to scare you, make you feel insecure. From the first phone call, he never made me feel insecure. He was confident that he can get the work done. Igor and Daniel promptly attended all my court dates. It took a while to achieve the resolution and finally my case was unconditionally withdrawn. I can't thank him enough. As Igor is a busy person, I was getting updates regularly from Daniel. I would give six stars to Daniel. Igor should never let him go. I would definitely recommend this law firm. You might sometimes feel that Igor is late in responding, but he'll be putting all his efforts behind the scene. Just have faith in him. I wish Igor and Daniel all the best.Brandon ABrandon A ★★★★★ Igor was fantastic to work with. He was always very quick to respond and answered any questions I had at any time during the process. I'm so impressed for his amazing and efficient work - he was able to have any charges against me dropped. I highly recommend Igor to anybody that's currently facing legal trouble. He truly exceeded my expectations and I'm so grateful for everything. Thank you Igor!Maria AgasMaria Agas ★★★★★ I was very impressed with his professionalism, swift responses and attention to detail. He was proactive and always communicated next steps. I’m so happy we came across Igor and his team. Igor is amazing and wonderful lawyer.Cindy LiCindy Li ★★★★★ I cannot express my gratitude enough for the exceptional legal representation provided by Igor. Facing wrongful accusations was a harrowing experience, but Igor's expertise and dedication swiftly turned the tide in my favor. He navigated the complexities of the case with professionalism, demonstrating remarkable intelligence and a deep understanding of the legal system. Thanks to his efforts, the charges were withdrawn in a timely manner, allowing me to move forward with my life. Igor is not just a good lawyer; he is an outstanding advocate for his clients. I wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of top-notch legal assistance.George ArellanoGeorge Arellano ★★★★★ Mr. Vilkhov got my charges withdrawn today after a very stressful time in my life. I hired him because of his reviews and I am not surprised that I got this result. I appreciate him and his team. Igor literally dedicates his entire life for his clients.Latch RamoutarLatch Ramoutar ★★★★★ I am sitting here at 10 Armoury street after my charges were just withdrawn. I cannot thank Igor enough for what he has done for me. This was supposed to be a trial where I was facing a ten year jail sentence. Somehow Igor got my charges dropped. This man is the lawyer you need, hands down. Also a very nice person.Emad MEmad M ★★★★★ Do not blink! Go with him.I know for stressful this process might be an how awful law system might be treating you, also how difficult it might be to trust someone with your “life”.Igor knows what he is doing and he saved my partner and I from false accusations of a jealous individual!He didn’t over charge, he didn’t hold back on any help a lawyer could possibly provide.This man is the best saviour one can ask for in these situations.Christa DuchenoChrista Ducheno ★★★★★ No kidding, if you need an attorney and You want the Best lawyer to defend you and your rights in the legal system I’d definitely recommend you call Igor Vilkhov.I am completely and gratefully satisfied with His professional guidance, knowledge of the complex legal system and most of all for saving my life. I give Igor and his Team my hands heart shout out Thank You for your dedication, I couldn’t have gotten through it without Y’all.Stephanie SchembriStephanie Schembri ★★★★★ Mr.Vilkhov thank you for keeping our family together we are forever gratefulAndreyAndrey ★★★★★ Highly recommend. Fast and reasonableRajveer SinghRajveer Singh ★★★★★ WaheguruKathryn GilfoyKathryn Gilfoy ★★★★★ john la magnajohn la magna ★★★★★ I had a great experience with Vilkhov Law. Igor was professional, efficient, and made my very stressful first endeavour into needing legal council as much of a breeze as it could have been.He was also very patient with me as a first time offender with way too many questions.I highly recommended Igor, and his team at Vilkhov Law!Norbert WysockiNorbert Wysocki ★★★★★ Igor and his team provided excellent service in very delicate and emotional case. They were extremely supporting and knowledgeable. Thank you for everything you have done!Jason WorthJason Worth ★★★★★ Words cannot describe what Igor has done for me. Igor is the most skilled and amazing attorney I have ever met in my entire life. I had a long list of charges (some that carried some serious penitentiary time) and worked some serious magic with countless hours behind the scenes for me to make just 1 appearance and have ALL THE CHARGES WITHDRAWN and a peace bond put in place. The timeframe for it was amazing as well he took care of me and this situation in only 15 months! (we all know the justice system does not work that fast normally!) If you want a very highly skilled, passionate, available(Igor would take calls and messages even after normal hours to fill me in!), experienced and dedicated attorney that will work tirelssly with you and for you to get you the absolute best results then Igor is your man! 5 stars does not do this man justice he deserves 100 stars!N -N - ★★★★★ Great lawyer. Knowledgeable and helpful. 10/10 would recommend :)GLORIS SPENCEGLORIS SPENCE ★★★★★ Working with Igor and his team during a very unpleasant situation has been a blessing. Even though the legal process was a lengthy one, they were there to answer the questions and concerns we had.Thankfully, it's all over and settled and hopefully we'll not need his services again, but it is reassuring to know that if the situation should every arise where legal counsel is needed, Vilkhov Law Professional will be there in my corner.Thank you.Scott K.Scott K. ★★★★★ I would like to give Igor 5 stars for handling my serious case for the last 11 months of my life. In December 2022, I was wrongfully accused of 2 serious charges under my name however, Igor took care of it from the beginning and finally all of those wrongful charges are withdrawn and now I feel much better and at ease. I am very glad that Igor could help me throughout the hard process and bring out the best result possible! Also, what I want to pinpoint out for the most is that he picks up the call by himself and you get to contact directly with him whenever you have questions or want updates throughout the process. I know that it could be tiring for lawyers who have other clients at the moment but Igor always keep a close contact with his client and I was always able to talk to him directly when I needed for the last 11 months. At last, I wish all the best for Igor and hope that god blesses throughout his career and may he be able to offer his professionalism to help other people in need. Thank you Igor :)js_loader


“Caring, honest, and highly knowledgeable.”

Contact Igor for a Free Consultation!

Please contact us online for a free consultation.
Go to Top