Nobody wants to talk about the actual cost of sexual assault charges. Particularly when it comes to discussing the actual costs that serious sexual offences impose on the justice system. This is likely due, in part, to the fact that most people not involved in the criminal justice system don’t have much knowledge about what actually happens in a courtroom. So, I thought I would take some time to provide some information about the cost of prosecuting these types of cases. Hopefully, this will help dispel some myths and provide a more accurate picture of what’s involved.
Charges involving sexual assaults are complex and taken very seriously by the courts and the justice system in Canada. Because sexual assault is a crime that involves many factors, including the fact that many cases of sexual assaults are not reported, it is difficult to determine the actual cost.
Costs of a Sexual Assault Charges
In a study looking at the Economic Impact of Violent Victimization in Canada it was estimated that sexual assault and other sexual offences cost Canadians $4.8 billion in 2009. This breaks down in the following ways:
- Total Medical Costs – $113,121,308 – Including hospital visits, doctor and nurse service costs, health care costs, counselling, medication and counselling costs. It is well established that the vast majority of victims of sexual assault are less likely to receive critical services without the assistance of Victim Service Advocates.
- Lost Productivity – $210,846,773 – Including lost income, child care costs, lost future income, disability costs, education costs, and other long term economic impact.
- Intangible Costs – $4,291,633,150 – Pain and suffering, mental health impacts.
- Police and Justice System Costs – $150,049,058 – Police work, court costs, federal custody, probation costs, etc.
- Social Services Costs – $50,365,531 – Victim Services, Crisis Centre and crisis line.
Sexual Assault Trials – Only 20% of Sexual Violence Reported to Police
According to StatsCan, 79% of all sexual assaults reported to the police did not end up going to trial. That is only 1 out of every 5 cases reported. In some of these cases, the accused was not able to be identified by the victim, but it should be noted that this rate for sexual assault is much higher than for physical assault, where the rate was 2 out of five cases that went to court.
Of the charges that went to a sexual assault trial, 55% of them were found guilty.
Sexual Assault Penalties – Sentences Range up to 14 years in Jail
In general, there are three levels of sexual offences in Ontario that all carry different penalties depending on the circumstances and the charge. According to Section 265 of the Criminal Code, Sexual Assault is defined as:
- Sexual Assault – which is committed in circumstances of a sexual nature such that the sexual integrity of the victim is violated
- Penalties – The penalties for Sexual assault depend on several mitigating factors including the age of the victim and if the accused was in a position of trust. If it is a summary offence the penalties are not more than 18 months or if the victims in under 16 not more than 2 years with a minimum term of 6 months imprisonment. For an indictable offence, the punishment is a minimum of one year up to 14 years for a victim under age 16 or 10 years if they are over 16.
- Sexual Assault Causing Bodily Harm or Sexual Assault with a Weapon – this is sexual assault with a weapon, threats or causing bodily harm.
- Aggravated Sexual Assault – sexual assault that wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant.
- Penalties – these are considered indictable offences and carries a minimum punishment of 4 years or 5 years if the victim is under age 16 up to a maximum of 14 years. For charges of aggravated sexual assault, the maximum penalty is life in jail.
If you are facing charges of sexual assault charges in Ontario, you need an experienced criminal defence lawyer to help you understand your case. Charges of sexual assault are extremely serious and complex and can have a substantial impact on your future. Contact William Jaksa today for a consultation. He has over fifteen years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer in Toronto and can help you get the best outcome for your case.