In Canada, there are three broad categories of criminal behaviour which can be grouped under the term child sexual exploitation (CSE): child sexual abuse, child pornography, and child prostitution. These categories, however, are clearly not mutually exclusive. For example, child sexual abuse victims are often also victims of child pornography. It is illegal to annoy or molest any minor under the age of 18 while motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in the minor. The sentencing and punishment for annoying or molesting a child can be severe in Canada.
Child exploitation refers to the use of children for someone else’s advantage, gratification or profit often resulting in unjust, cruel and harmful treatment of the child. These activities are to the detriment of the child’s physical or mental health, education, moral or social-emotional development. It covers situations of manipulation, misuse, abuse, victimization, oppression or ill-treatment.
It is a crime involving a range of indecent or sexual activities between an adult and a child, usually under the age of 14. Regardless of the terminology, it is illegal for an adult to touch any portion of a child’s body with a “lewd and lascivious” intent. Usually, consent is not a matter of consideration, and is not available as a defense to a charge of child molestation. Even in cases where it can be proven that the minor victim was a willing participant, a sex act or improper touching is still a crime because children cannot legally consent to anything. Criminal penalties are severe for those convicted of child molestation.
Child sexual abuse involves any sexual activity with a child where consent is not or cannot be given. This includes sexual contact that is accomplished by force or threat of force, regardless of the age of the participants, and all sexual contact between an adult and a child, regardless of whether there is deception or the child understands the sexual nature of the activity.
The Scope of Child Sexual Abuse.
Charges of abuse or molestation may end in conviction. If the legal defense team fails to convince a jury or judge of the validity of their argument, conviction as guilty of these crimes is usually the result. These crimes must have a jury that has been deemed appropriate with the open-minded view of being able to sentence the entirety of penalties based on the crime and other factors included.
Those convicted of child molestation face a dire reality. The laws governing child molestation vary from province to province, but most jurisdictions mandate long prison sentences and vigorously prosecute child sex abuse cases. When released from prison, those convicted must register as a sex offender. They must also report to a probation officer and may be ordered to undergo counseling.
Child abuse and neglect cases can be difficult for everyone involved, which is unfortunately one reason why some cases go unreported. After all, child abuse and the resulting penalties and sentencing, especially when the abuse occurs within a family, have the potential to cause major disruptions to social relationships. The legal age of consent to sexual activity refers to the age at which the criminal law recognizes the legal capacity of a young person to provide such consent. Below this age, most sexual activity with a young person, ranging from sexual touching to sexual intercourse, is prohibited.
|Aggravated sexual assault||Life in prison – max 25 years|
|Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or bodily harm||14 years in prison|
|Sexual assault tried as an indictable offence||10 years in prison|
|Sexual assault tried as a summary conviction offence*||6 months in jail and a $2,000 fine|
[Child] sexual abuse is the result of abusive behavior that takes advantage of a child’s vulnerability and is in no way related to the sexual orientation of the abusive person.
In few criminal cases is the risk of a false accusation as great as it is in child molestation cases. And the risk of a wrongful conviction is great, too. The danger of inflamed emotions is compounded by the lack of evidence common in child molestation cases.
There is little evidence that many children deliberately make false allegations or misinterpret appropriate adult-child contact as sexual abuse. As a result of changing public attitudes, it is now possible to acknowledge publicly and clinically the existence of child sexual abuse in Canadian society.
Alternatively, if you have been accused of child molestation and believe that criminal acts have occurred against the victim, but you did not commit them, another possible defense is to establish who the real perpetrator was. Due to the emotionally traumatic nature of child molestation, children may have altered or repressed memories about their experiences that prevent them from accurately remembering what has occurred.
Facing criminal charges may be stressful for you, especially when they involve severe allegations like molesting or annoying a child under 18. That is why you should hire a reputable lawyer to help you fight the charges.
Working with a skilled criminal defense attorney, it is often possible to reveal false allegations based on a thorough and aggressive review of the evidence of the case.
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