Frequently Asked Questions

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is an assault of a sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the survivor. 

Sexual Assault is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Under the Criminal Code sexual assault is defined by three levels:  

Level One – Sexual assault (section 271)  

Level Two – Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm (section 272)

Level Three – Aggravated sexual assault (section 273)

Who can experience a sexual assault?

People of any gender can experience a sexual assault. Everyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation has the right to receive the same level of support following sexual assault.

Acts of sexual assault are motivated by power inequalities, intolerance, hatred or discrimination of a person’s identity including race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, age, and social economic status.

1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Those labelled with disabilities, 2SLGBTQQIA + people, Indigenous women, women of color, and those working in sex work are often victimized at much high rates.

Indigenous Women – are sexually assaulted three times more often than non-Indigenous Women. Reclaiming Power and Place: the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Canada, 2019. Web Archive. Pg. 55.

2SLGBTQQIA+ People – Egale Canada reports “Lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LBT) women, as well as gender-diverse and Two Spirit people encounter discrimination, stigmatization, and traumatic experiences of violence at disproportionately higher rates than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts.” Reclaiming Power and Place: the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Canada, 2019. Web Archive. Pg. 56.

Women with Disabilities – experience physical and sexual violence at three to four times the rate of women who do not report disabilities. DisAbled Women’s Network of Canada; Odette, 2012.

What is consent?

Consent is when someone voluntarily gives permission to engage in sexual activity. Everyone involved in the sexual activity needs to consent. 

  • Consent can be taken back at anytime if you want to stop the sexual activity 
  • Consenting to one sexual activity does not mean you are consenting to another 
  • Providing consent to engage in sexual activity with someone does not mean you provided consent for future contact. 

Consent is required – without consent any sexual contact is sexual assault.

What is date rape?

Date assault or date rape is a form of acquaintance assault. Acquaintance assault is when the perpetrator is someone that the survivor knows. This could include a friend, relative, classmate, or co-worker. Date assault is when the perpetrator and survivor previously engaged in sexual activity, were currently engaging in sexual activity or planned on engaging in sexual activity in the future when the perpetrator committed sexual assault. 

Consent is required – without consent any sexual contact is sexual assault.  

What is a date rape drug?

Some drugs can be used to facilitate sexual assault. These drugs are often called “date rape drugs”.

The drugs can be odorless and colorless and can be mixed into someone’s drink without them knowing. Side effects can include memory loss, drowsiness, and unconsciousness (black outs), confusion, loss of muscle control or numbness, nausea, vomiting, and sweating. 

Alcohol can also be used as a way to facilitate sexual assault. Alcohol can cause memory loss, black outs, and loss of control. People may pressure or force someone to drink more alcohol than they would like as a way to control and facilitate assault. 

If you believe you may have been drugged and/or if you have been sexually assaulted you have the right to seek medical attention or law enforcement or both.  

Reminder – Consent cannot be provided when drunk or high. Regardless if someone chose or was pressured or forced into consuming drugs or alcohol sexual contact without consent is sexual assault and is the fault of the person who committed the assault.

What is violence in relationships?

Violence in relationships is when one person tries to dominate and/or control their partner through actual or threatened abuse including sexual, physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial abuse. Violence can occur by a current or former partner. It can happen between any partners regardless of gender or sexual orientation. 

Also referred to as intimate partner violence, domestic violence and dating violence. 


24 Hour Manitoba Family Violence Crisis Line 1-877-977-0007. 

If you are in immediate danger, call 911. 

Nova House is located in Selkirk, MB. It is an emergency and transitional shelter for those experiencing violence. They also provide individual counselling and support groups.
Nova House 24 hour Local Crisis Line Local Crisis Line 204-482-1200.
Nova House 24 hour Crisis Text line 204-805-6682.

First Nation Healing Centre Inc. is located in Fisher River Cree Nation. It is an emergency shelter for those experiencing violence and provides support groups. They also offer a 7-week Healing Our Spirits Program.
24 Hour Crisis Line 1-800-692-6270. 

For support across Manitoba 

Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters: 

First Nation Shelters in Manitoba:

SafePet Program – helps those leaving abusive partners by providing temporary housing for their pets.

Who can provide emotional support after a sexual assault?

After being sexually assaulted you may choose someone to provide support. A support person can include anyone you choose. Some examples are a family member, friend, co-worker or crisis worker. When providing support for a survivor here are some important points to remember:

Believe the Survivor
– make it clear that you believe them and that the assault is not their fault.

Empower the Survivor
– listen to the survivor without judgement.

Maintain Confidentiality
– it is not your story to tell.
– Let the survivor decide who they tell about the assault.
Note: If the survivor is a minor there is a responsibility to report the abuse.

Safety and Resources

Ask the survivor if they feel safe. They may know the person who assaulted them and therefore may need help reaching out to a crisis line or safety planning. Ask the survivor if they need any other help or support getting medical or legal support or support of a crisis worker.

For advocacy and support you can ask for a SARAH Worker 24/7 at RCMP detachments in Selkirk, Pine Falls, Beausejour, Pinawa, Oakbank, and Lac du Bonnet and at emergency departments in Selkirk, Pine Falls, Beausejour, and Pinawa. For more info see:

For support over the phone for survivors and those who love them: 24/7 Klinic Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1-888-292-7565

Where can you receive medical attention following a sexual assault?

A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) can provide medical care and/or evidence collection following a sexual assault. A SANE is a registered nurse who has specialized training to provide medical care and/or evidence collection of sexual assault survivors. 

If you are 17 and under Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are only available at the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg for medical care and/or evidence collection. 

If you are 18 and older Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners may be available at your local hospital. 

Survivor’s can also receive medical care at your doctor’s office, a hospital, or walk in clinc following a sexual assault. 

Medical care following a sexual assault can address concerns regarding: 

  • Internal and external injuries 
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) 
  • Pregnancy and emergency contraception (Plan B)
  • Other forms of Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (medications used to prevent infections)  

Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK)

Medical staff can collect evidence including collection through swabs, blood samples, DNA samples, and photos. If the survivor of sexual assault consents to the SAEK they can chose to: 

  • Involve police to use the SAEK in an investigation 
  • Have the SAEK done but don’t involve police. 
    • In many medical facilities the SAEK can be stored for a period of time which allows the survivor the option to involve the police at a later date. This is called Third-party Reporting. 

A survivor of sexual assault has the option to seek medical care and has the option to stop or skip any part of the medical care and sexual assault evidence kit procedures. 

For advocacy and support while obtaining medical care and/or reporting to police, ask for a SARAH Worker 24/7 at RCMP detachments in Selkirk, Pine Falls, Beausejour, Pinawa, Oakbank, and Lac du Bonnet and at emergency departments in Selkirk, Pine Falls, Beausejour, and Pinawa. For more info see:

What information do I need to know about reporting to police?

Survivor’s of sexual assault have the right to decide whether or not they want to report the assault to police.  In certain cases, police may be required to investigate.  For example:

  • If you were younger than 16 years old at the time of the assault, the police may be required to investigate.
  • If you were sexually assaulted by your intimate or domestic partner (past or present), and report the assault to police, they are required to investigate the incident fully.  If the police decide there is evidence that a crime has been committed, they may lay charges.

Reporting to Law Enforcement Options – Survivors have the options to: 

  • Chose not to report the sexual assault. 
  • Report the sexual assault to police by contacting local RCMP or police station – with or without a SAEK (evidence collection). 
  • Report the sexual assault through third party reporting. 

If possible survivors can try and protect evidence by: 

  • Avoiding showering or bathing 
  • Avoiding changing your clothing 
  • Avoiding brushing your hair 

If possible you can also write down or tell someone you trust any of the details of the assault you can remember to later provide to police. 

For advocacy and support while reporting to police and/or obtaining medical care, ask for a SARAH Worker 24/7 at RCMP detachments in Selkirk, Pine Falls, Beausejour, Pinawa, Oakbank, and Lac du Bonnet and at emergency departments in Selkirk, Pine Falls, Beausejour, and Pinawa. For more info see:

Is there compensation for victims of crime?

Manitoba Justice Victim Services supports victims of crimes including victims and survivors of intimate or domestic violence and sexual assault, and families of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls (persons). Victims Services can support survivors by helping understand their rights and connecting them with other agencies and resources to help understand the justice system. 

For more information: 

The Compensation for Victims of Crime (CVCP)  program provides compensation to victims, witnesses and families of victims of a crime committed in Manitoba.  

For more information: