Sexual assault is any sexual contact that happens without the consent of both people. It can range from unwanted sexual touching to forced sexual intercourse. It can occur anywhere - in your home, at a community facility like a recreational centre or in public places. It can occur even when people know each other or are married or dating. Sexual assault occurs when someone did not consent to the sexual activity.
If you have been in any of the following situations, you may have been a victim of sexual assault:
- Your words or actions indicated that you did not want to have or continue sexual contact, but the sexual contact continued
- You submitted to sexual contact because someone threatened or used force on you
- You were not able to give consent to sexual contact (for example, you were drugged, impaired or have a disability)
- Someone persuaded you to have sexual contact by using their position of authority or power over you
Sexual assault can be committed by strangers. But most often it is committed by someone the victim knows, such as a family member, acquaintance or someone in a position of trust or authority.
Help is Available
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, help is available. For information, please see the sexual assault fact sheet provided by Victim Services and Crime Prevention (Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General). You can also call your local police or VictimLinkBC for information and support.
The legal age of consent to sexual activity is 16 (except where young people are close in age). When a child is at risk or is being sexually assaulted, it is your legal duty to report the crime.