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In 1983, the Criminal Code was changed to reflect this view; the crime of sexual assault was created.
Victims of sexual assault give various reasons for not reporting their experiences.It is known that poverty, racism and inequity can increase vulnerability to sexual assault.For example, Aboriginal people in Canada have considerably higher sexual assault rates compared to non-Aboriginal people (Perreault, 2011).For example, level 1 rates range from 41.85/100,000 to 627.66/100,000 with a national average of 60.64/100,000 (Statistics Canada).Provinces and regions also vary in relation to the less common level 2 and level 3 offences.When the crime of sexual assault replaced rape in the Criminal Code, it was hoped that victims would feel safer in reporting incidents and pressing charges against perpetrators.
However this was not to be the case and rates of reporting have not risen significantly since the inclusion of sexual assault in the Criminal Code.This compares to 29% in the case of robberies and 31% in the case of physical assaults (Perreault & Brennan).Since the Criminal Code cites three levels of sexual assault, it is more informative to report rates for each level rather than blending them to give an overall rate.Three levels of sexual assault were introduced, with Levels 1 to 3 representing an escalation of physical violence (see box below).The criminalization of sexual assault in marriage was also recognized, and the concept of consent was clearly outlined.Although the law points out that both males and females can be victims and perpetrators of sexual assault, the evidence indicates that females make up the majority of victims and males the majority of perpetrators (Perreault & Brennan, 2010).