Guidelines For Responding to Sexual Assault
Definition of Sexual Assault
Sexual Assault is any sexual contact without consent, including sexual contact by a woman's intimate partner. It is estimated that one in four Canadian women will be sexually assaulted during her lifetime. Sexual assault includes unwanted kissing, fondling, oral sex, vaginal or anal intercourse, raping with an object, forcing a person to touch someone's genitals, threats of physical harm to her or someone else if she refuses sexual demands.
Consent is voluntarily agreeing to engage in sexual activity. Under Canadian law, there is no consent when:
Suggestions For Service Providers' Initial Contact
Create a safe, private, and comfortable environment that facilitates communication by:
Let her control the intervention wherever possible:
Explain to her what will happen with the information she gives you, for example:
Believe her. Be careful about your preconceived ideas about a woman's reactions. Everyone reacts differently to an assault. Some women may have seemingly no response.
Validate and normalize her reactions and feelings.
Outline her choices, giving realistic and accurate information about the possible implications of each choice.