The restrictions following a sexual assault case in Ontario will vary based on several factors. The court ruling depends on the severity of the offence, prior convictions, and the particular circumstances of the individual case. However, when someone is convicted of sexual assault, they can expect certain kinds of restrictions.
The Canadian Criminal Code defines sexual assault as any form of sexual contact imposed on a person without their consent or free will. The charge may include common sexual assault, sexual assault causing bodily harm, and aggravated sexual assault.
Limits on Where You Can Live or Visit
Following a sexual assault conviction in Ontario, the courts may impose restrictions on an individual regarding where they can live or visit. Offenders may not be able to leave the city, the province, or the country. They may also be subject to random compliance checks and regular check-ins.
In the case of a sexual offence involving a person under the age of 14, the courts may restrict the offender from being near public places where children may be present. This would include schools and playgrounds, for example. Such a restriction could also impact where the person convicted of sexual assault may be able to live.
Section 264 of the Criminal Code also states that individuals cannot participate in criminal harassment. Examples include following a person or watching a place where the other person lives or works. This restriction may be applicable in relation to the offender and the victim.
Curfews Following an Ontario Sexual Assault Conviction
The Ontario courts may impose a curfew on someone convicted of sexual assault. The hours they can be out in public are limited, usually to daylight hours. Commonly, curfew starts around 9 or 10 p.m. and lasts until around 6:00 the next morning.
The curfew may also extend to a house arrest. The individual is confined to their residence or another preapproved address, and not just away from public spaces generally. Exceptions may be made in the case of emergencies or preapproved commitments.
Possible Restraining Orders and Social Limits
In sexual assault cases, the courts may issue a restraining order against the offender. They may not be allowed to contact, approach, or socialise with the named victim. The offender may also be restricted on where they can live or visit if it conflicts with the details of the restraining order, like if the offender’s residence is too close to the victim’s workplace.
In some cases, the restraining order can extend beyond the victim. This may include known associates or other individuals who may be deemed at risk.
Even in cases where the individual has not been convicted of sexual assault, the victim may seek a peace bond lasting up to 12 months. A peace bond functions in much the same way as a restraining order. It is designed to prevent further harm to the victim, their spouse or partner, their child, or their property.
Implications of Registered Sex Offender Status
Individuals convicted of sexual assault are required to register as sex offenders. This includes a listing in both the Ontario registry and the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR). Registration is for a period of 10 years, 20 years, or life. Once a person is placed on the registry, they will have ongoing reporting obligations to the police every year. The list is not public, but it is accessible by every accredited police agency in Canada.
Law enforcement officials then have access to the offender’s name, birthdate, current and former addresses, vehicle registration, address and type of employment, and passport, among other information. This could have severe ramifications for the individual in encounters with the police.
Restrictions on Working Around Children
A sexual assault conviction involving a young person under the age of 14 may result in restrictions on where the offender can live or visit, as discussed above. Understandably, this also extends to places of employment, including volunteer work.
The courts may prohibit the individual from working in places where they would have contact with children. This is true even if the work itself isn’t directly related to childcare. It is especially relevant if the work involves being in a position of trust or authority towards a young person. This restriction applies to seeking new employment but also continuing any past employment around children.
Get the Answers You Need
If you have been accused of sexual assault, get in touch with our team to start building the strongest defence possible. With a strong advocate on your side, you might be able to avoid some of these punitive restrictions. From Barrie to Brantford, Hamilton to Windsor, we’ve worked with clients all across Ontario. Call us toll-free at 1-800-699-0806 or complete our online contact form to schedule your free consultation today.