Sexual assault is personal trespass of a sexual nature.

Sexual assault is personal trespass of a sexual nature.*

* Legal information provided by the Mothers’ Aid Society of Canada does not constitute professional legal advice. on “Sexual Nature:”

Determination of whether the contact is of a sexual nature is on an objective standard in light of all the circumstances.[1]

Circumstantial Factors

In determining if the contact was of a sexual nature, the court may look at the surrounding circumstances, including:[2]

– the body touched,
– the nature of the contact,
– the situation in which it occurred,
– the words and gestures accompanying the act,
– all other circumstances surrounding the conduct, including threats which may or may not be accompanied by force; and
– intent or purpose of the person committing the act.

No Sexual Purpose or Gratification Needed

The accused’s sexual gratification is not essential.[3] All that is required is an act that violates the sexual integrity of the victim. [4]

The accused does not need to have a sexual purpose in the assault. Disciplining or humiliating a person in a sexual manner is a sexual assault.[5] It can also be of a “sexual nature” where it is performed for a purported “educational” performance.[6]

For example, a punch to the face can be of sexual nature.[7]

A murder that occurs while the female victim is partially undressed and largely naked will render the murder to be of a sexual nature.[8]

Medical Context

An alleged sexual assault in the context of a medical procedure requires the judge to consider whether there is evidence showing the conduct “had a sexual character in addition to whatever medical character that conduct might have had”.[10] There should be evidence such as “patient testimony” or “anomalous activities”, that indicates that the touching was “not simply a medical examination or activity, but something more”.[11]

Source: Sexual Assault via

MASC Note on ‘Medical Context’

In order for an alleged sexual assault to have occurred “in the context of a medical procedure,” the medical procedure or treatment must be legitimate. In order for the treatment to be legitimate, the recipient must have consented to the treatment. If the recipient did not consent, the action is not a medical procedure or treatment, but is rather an assault.

MASC supports the position that the element of “something more” within a medical context, as quoted above, is a wide umbrella. “Sexual nature” is defined in such a way that sexual purpose or gratification is not a necessary component, and so the “something more” is necessarily not limited to sexual purpose or gratification. As such, “something more” includes anything beyond the constituents of what is simply a “medical examination or activity.”

Because a medical examination or activity must be performed with consent in order to be of a legitimate medical character and thus to not be assault, it is clear that the element of “something more” includes the bypassing of non-consent and so includes assault; and so, when such a non-consensual act is done to the sexual organs and/or done in a way that negatively impacts a person’s sexual integrity in an otherwise medical context, it is a sexual assault (or aggravated sexual assault, or sexual assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm, and so on as the case may be).

Victim Accounts of Sexual Assault in Obstetrics

Future updates are expected to include quotes and references from the Canadian Criminal Code and other existing law.
Future updates are also expected to include clarifications of law written to the best of this writer’s ability, in good faith, however absent any official legal certification.
Page last updated April 19, 2020.