Compensation For Victims of Sexual Violence - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Compensation For Victims of Sexual Violence


It is estimated that one in three women and one in six men in Canada will become the victims of sexual assault at some point in their lives, yet only 5 percent of the attacks are ever reported to the police. One reason for the low rate of reporting of what is a serious criminal offense could be the fact that only 43 percent of offenders charged with sexual assault and other acts of sexual violence are convicted of the offense. If you have been sexually assaulted, another option in addition to criminal charges is a lawsuit against your attacker for monetary damages. A civil lawsuit might also be available against third parties, such as your employer, for failing to take action to prevent the misconduct.

Sexual Assault Takes Many Forms

Any behaviour that compels another person to engage in sexual activity without their consent is considered a sexual assault or an act of sexual violence. Rape is what people normally associate with sexual assault, but being forced to kiss someone against your will is also a sexual assault. Sexual harassment at your place of employment is a form of sexual assault when you are subjected to touching, grabbing and other types of physical contact against your will.

Depending upon how the offensive conduct presents itself, your right to sue for compensation could extend beyond the person engaging in the behaviour. For example, if the conduct takes place at your place of employment or at a school where you are a student, the failure of management or administrators to take appropriate measures to protect you from it creates liability on the part of the school or employer.

Different Burdens of Proof in Civil and Criminal Cases

The law requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases. The evidence presented by the government must establish the commission of the offense by the accused to a degree of certainty that is just short of absolute. In contrast, judges and jurors in civil cases need be convinced by the evidence that it is more likely than not that you are entitled to recover damages.

What Damages may a Sexual Assault Victim Recover?

Victims of sexual assault may suffer a combination of physical and psychological injuries for which they are entitled to be compensated. Among the damages recoverable against the offender and any third parties whose behaviour contributed to or allowed the misconduct are the following:

  • Expenses associated with past, current and future medical care and psychological counseling
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost earnings, including future earnings, from being unable to work due to the misconduct

Normally, a lawsuit must be filed within two years when seeking compensation for personal injuries. Recognizing the difficulty victims of sexual assault have in recognizing their psychological injuries, the Ontario Limitations Act has been amended to remove restrictions on the time a victim has to file a lawsuit for sexual assault.

Ontario Personal Injury Lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation by people suffering physical and psychological injuries due to the intentional or negligent conduct of others. If you suffer an injury due to sexual assault or sexual harassment and need to file a claim, you should speak to one of our lawyers. Call the Diamond & Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims throughout Ontario.

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