Why call it "sexualized assault" instead of "sexual assault"?
We use the term sexualized assault because the term sexual assault implies that these assaults are sexual acts. Sexual acts are consensual. Acts like rape, however, are not consensual. If we use language that makes it seem like these kinds of violent acts are consensual, we mask or hide the violence that are inherent in these acts.
Watch these videos to learn about Yukon's legal system and its responses to sexualized violence:
Overview of what it's like to report sexualized violence in Whitehorse, Yukon
Who makes the decision about whether or not someone will be charged with a criminal offence?
RCMP investigate and make the decision whether or not to charge someone with an offence. RCMP may decide to consult the Crown about a potential charge, but the Crown does not make the decision.
Can a victim withdraw a charge?
No, a victim is a witness and does not decide if a charge proceeds. The Crown decides if a charge will proceed. The Crown will listen to a victim and why they do not want the charge to go ahead, but the victim does not get to make the decision. Charges often proceed even when a victim has asked the Crown to stop.
Can the RCMP stop the process after they have charged someone?
After the RCMP charges someone, they no longer have any control over the charges. Responsibility for decision making about the charge transfers to the Crown.
What happens to someone that is charged with sexualized assault?
The RCMP have options after someone has been arrested:
Release person with documents setting out their court date. Person will be released by the RCMP and must appear in Court on the date provided. Failure to attend is a criminal offence; or
Release person with documents setting out their court date and also put them on conditions they have to follow until their matter is resolved in Court after trial or sentencing; or
They can keep person in custody and take them before a Judge within 24 hours for a bail hearing
If the RCMP hold person in custody then they will have an opportunity to request their release at a bail hearing with a Judge. A Judge can:
Detain – means person must stay in jail after their trial or sentencing; or
Release person with a Court date and place them on conditions they have to follow until after their trial or sentencing.
If the RCMP hold person in custody they will have access to a Legal Aid lawyer for their bail hearing, free of charge.
Can a person change the conditions placed on them by the RCMP or the Judge?
Yes, but the person should talk to a lawyer first to get assistance with the process;
The person will have to explain to the Judge why the condition is not necessary or is causing them hardship. Common requests include:
Changes to allow person to work or travel out of the Yukon for treatment
Contact with a victim who is person's spouse/partner
Change of residence or a move to another community
How does the accused find out about the evidence that the RCMP had to decide to charge them?
The evidence collected by the RCMP during their investigation is given to the Crown. The evidence is called “Disclosure” and accused is entitled to a copy of the Disclosure so that they can learn about the allegations against them. This could includes: police notes, witness statements, diagrams and photographs.
The lawyer of the accused will request the disclosure. If the accused does not have a lawyer then they can ask the Crown for the disclosure themselves or with the assistance of an Indigenous Court Worker.
Disclosure is usually ready for their first appearance in Court. If it is not ready, then the Crown will give them some directions on when and how to get it.