Forms of sexual assault

Sexual assault can take many forms. They also vary in terms of violence and the kind of acts that take place.

However, in almost every case:

  • Sexual assault has harmful consequences for the victim.
  • Sexual assault is a criminal act because the victim has not consented or is not old enough to give consent.

Common forms of sexual assault

  • Kissing of a sexual nature
  • Touching: breasts, thighs, buttocks, penis, vulva, anus
  • Masturbation of the victim by the perpetrator or vice versa
  • Oral-genital contact:
    • Cunnilingus: contact between the mouth and a girl’s or woman’s genitals.
    • Fellatio: the insertion of the perpetrator’s penis into the victim’s mouth or the insertion of the victim’s penis into the perpetrator’s mouth.
  • Penetration: vaginal or anal penetration with a penis, finger or other object.
  • Exhibitionism: the practice of exposing one’s genitals in public.
  • Frottage: the practice of rubbing against non-consenting persons in a public area. For example, attempting to rub one’s genitals against strangers on the bus.
  • Voyeurism: "voyeuristic" activity refers to watching individuals who are naked or involved in sexual activity.

It is completely unacceptable — and 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 without consent 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. *


* Criminal Code provides an exception for persons of 14 or 15 years of age. A person of this age may give their consent as long as their partner is:

  • Not more than five years older
  • Not in a situation of trust or authority towards the youth
  • Not a person with whom the youth is in a relationship of dependency
  • Not in a relationship with the youth that is exploitative of the youth

Twelve- and thirteen-year-olds may consent if their partner is less than two years older than they are and the preceding conditions are met.

© Government of Québec, 2010  •  Links and references  •  Confidentiality Policy  •  Accessibiliy