Statutory Rape

Rape is a nonconsensual sexual act conducted through force, fear, or threats. One variation of rape, called statutory rape, makes it unlawful to have sex with a minor under the “age of consent.”

For a minor victim, such an act may have multiple long-term consequences. Minors tend to be affected because they already have a greater cognitive awareness of what sexual assault means and how it might impact other aspects of their lives. 

Worse,  some victims who experience severe anxiety may have panic attacks, abuse substances, or engage in self-harming behaviors. Therefore, children and adults need to understand this topic. 

In Canada, there is a specific legal punishment for statutory rapes and victims can pursue legal compensation. To learn more, keep on reading.

What is Statutory Rape?What is Statutory Rape?

Statutory Rape in Canada is defined as any sexual contact with a person under the age of consent. This usually refers to an adult touching children for sexual purposes. Under statutory rape laws, a person who has sex with a person under a certain age known as “the age of consent” risks criminal charges and a jail or prison sentence, even if the younger person is a willing partner and neither partner is an adult. 

What is the Age of Consent in Canada?

The Age of Consent in Canada is 16 years old. The age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. It means that individuals aged 15 or younger in Canada are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape or the equivalent local law.

Canada’s statutory rape law is violated when an individual has consensual sexual intercourse with a person under age 16. However, there are two close in age exemptions in Canada.

  1. The first allows children ages 12 or 13 to consent to sexual activity with someone who is less than two years old. 
  2. The second allows 14 and 15-year-olds to consent to sexual activity with partners that are less than five years older than them. Depending on the situation, the close-in-age exemptions may exempt a person completely from a charge under statutory rape laws or it may merely act as a defence to such a charge.

Furthermore, certain situations call for the consent age to be raised from 16 to 18 years old. The age of consent will be raised to 18 years of age when:

  • The older party is in a position of authority or a position of trust over the other party OR
  • The younger party is in a position of dependency with the older person OR
  • The relationship is one where the young person is being exploited

There are many different scenarios where the age of consent would be raised to the age of 18. Some of these situations may arise in relationships of trust or authority between, for example, a teacher and student, an employer and employee,a coach and player, or a babysitter and the child that they are caring for.

How do Canada’s Laws Apply on Statutory Rape?

Under Canadian law (section 151), it is an offence to touch any part of the body of a person under the age of 16 for a sexual purpose. Under statutory rape law, a person who has sex with a person under a certain age known as “the age of consent” risks criminal charges and a jail or prison sentence.

When, however, an accused is charged with an offence under section 151 in respect of a complainant who is 12 years of age or more but under the age of 14 years, it is a defence that the complainant consented to the activity that forms the subject matter of the charge if the accused:

  • is less than two years older than the complainant; and
  • is not in a position of trust or authority towards the complainant
  • is not a person with whom the complainant 
  • is in a relationship of dependency
  • is not in a relationship with the complainant that is exploitative of the complainant.

Moreover, If an accused is charged with an offence under section 151 in respect of a complainant who is 14 years of age or more but under the age of 16 years, it is a defence that the complainant consented to the activity that forms the subject matter of the charge if the accused:

  • is less than five years older than the complainant; and
  • is not in a position of trust or authority towards the complainant, is not a person with whom the complainant is in a relationship of dependency and is not in a relationship with the complainant that is exploitative of the complainant.

This is a hybrid offence with a mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment for one year (upon indictment) or 90 days (upon summary conviction). The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for up to 14 years (upon indictment) or two years less a day (upon summary conviction).

A statutory rape case may have multiple long-term consequences for a minor victim. If you or your child is a victim, seek legal assistance and get the compensation you need. Call Diamond and Diamond’s lawyers at 1-800-567-HURT today!

Get in Touch With Diamond and Diamond Lawyer for Legal Assistance

The consequences of statutory rape charges or a conviction can affect a victim’s life for many years. It can even lead to repercussions that affect the child’s life such as psychological trauma or disorders. Therefore, it is a human right to seek justice for this crime. If you or your child has been involved with statutory rape or any sex crimes, you should consult with an experienced lawyer. 

At Diamond & Diamond, our team of lawyers relies on their reputation in the field and extensive experience in personal injury to provide clients with a dedicated support system throughout their cases including sexual assault and statutory rape. Call 1-800-567-HURT for a free consultation!

pro tip icon

Pro Tip

“When you accuse someone of statutory rape, you will likely report the details of the incident to the police. Once you have provided statements to the police, you cannot simply go back and get the charges dropped.”

Statutory Rape FAQs

What is the average sentence for statutory rape in Canada?

Statutory rape case in Canada is a hybrid offence with a mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment for one year (upon indictment) or 90 days (upon summary conviction). The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for up to 14 years (upon indictment) or two years less a day (upon summary conviction).

Could an older woman be charged with statutory rape?

Canada has enacted gender-neutral language with respect to laws on statutory rape. It means that statutory rape laws apply regardless of gender. Prosecutors can charge a female with statutory rape of a male who is younger than the age of consent.

Do statutory rape laws apply in same-sex situations?

Statutory rape laws usually apply to both opposite- and same-sex sexual relationships involving a person under the age of consent.

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