Sexual Abuse

What is Sexual Assault?

The following is a Definition found on the Government of Quebec site:


Sexual assault is an act that is sexual in nature, with or without physical contact, committed by an individual without the consent of the victim, or in some cases, through emotional manipulation or blackmail, especially when children are involved. It is an act that subjects another person to the perpetrator’s desires through an abuse of power and/or the use of force or coercion, accompanied by implicit or explicit threats. Sexual assault is an attack on a person’s basic rights, particularly their rights to physical and psychological integrity and to personal security.

This definition applies regardless of the:

  • Age, sex, culture, origin, marital status, religion, or sexual orientation of the perpetrator or the victim
  • Type of sexual act
  • Place or living environment in which the act occurred
  • Relationship between the perpetrator and the victim

We are referring to sexual assault when we use other expressions like: 

  • Sexual abuse, sexual offence, sexual contact, incest, child prostitution and pornography, and rape. 

It is completely unacceptable — and is illegal! 

Sexual assault is unacceptable, regardless of the form it takes, the acts involved, the situation, the relationship between the perpetrator and victim, or the circumstances. 

  • All acts or forms of sexual contact are illegal. 
  • And all acts or forms of sexual contact with people under the age of 16 are considered to occur “without consent” and are thus illegal. *



Can you prevent sexual assault?

Vigilance is key.

Remember: most victims of sexual assault knew their assailant.

In Québec, 69% of sexual assaults . . .

*   take place in private residences

*   involve victims under the age of 18


  • Sexual assaults against young girls most often take place in the family home and are committed by people such as the victim’s uncle, cousin, brother, friend, father, mother’s partner, etc. 
  • Sexual assaults against young boys most often take place outside the family home and are committed by people such as the victim’s coach, teacher, etc.

In general, sexual offenders are almost exclusively male, and are mostly adults of sound mind. They can be a Partner/spouse, friend, acquaintance, professional, colleague, employer, classmate, neighbour, or family member.

In Québec, various organizations and groups in the public, parapublic, community and private sectors are mobilizing their efforts to reduce the number of sexual assaults in all settings.

The risk of sexual assault is highest for children and young people under the age of 18. For that reason, it is important for them and for those with responsibilities in settings where they are present to be aware of the importance of prevention. One important group working throughout Québec to prevent violence, including sexual assault, is the Regroupement des organismes Espace du Québec (, which is an umbrella organization that unites all the Espace organizations.

Thank You to the Government of Quebec for this information.