Published In

Canadian Journal of Women and the Law

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-20-2019

Subjects

Statutory Rape, Sexual Assault, Adolescent Girls, Case Law

Abstract

This article examines three years of Canadian case law involving sexual offences against adolescent girls between the ages of twelve and seventeen inclusive, with a view to identifying the types of cases that are making it to court, whether these cases are resulting in convictions, and what are the types of sentences being imposed on individuals convicted of these offences. A significant majority of cases under review involved men considerably older than the complainant. The average age difference between the accused and the complainant was nineteen years and, where family members were excluded, 15.6 years. The small number of cases involving close-in-age peers often included violence additional to the sexual assault. In approximately 30 percent of cases, the complainant was asleep or intoxicated when at least some of the abuse was initiated. The cases present a picture of crimes in which intersecting inequalities and vulnerabilities help to explain why this demographic is targeted for sexual violence more than any other age group.

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