|Previous Next Index Image Index Year Selection|
(1) Outline of sexual offenses
The Criminal Code is applied to all provinces in Canada. Sexual offenses defined by the Criminal Code are divided into sexual assault and other sexual offenses (meaning sexual offenses other than sexual assault). Sexual assault is to have sexual contact including sexual intercourse without depending on the will of victims of both sexes. Punishments for sexual assault are divided into three stages according to the levels of assault, which is the means to coerce sexual acts, and there are wide-ranging options from criminal disposition through summary trial procedure to lifetime imprisonment. Concretely, disposition is determined according to the following three levels: (1) sexual assault causing slight injury or no injury to victims (hereinafter referred to as "level 1" in this Subsection); (2) sexual assault by intimidating victims or causing injury to victims such as by using weapons (excluding injury of levels (1) and (3); referred to as "level 2"); and (3) sexual assault causing serious injury to victims, spoiling the beauty of victims such as face, or endangering the life of victims (referred to as "level 3").
For other sexual offenses, provisions are established separately from those for sexual assault. Sexual offenses against juveniles younger than 18 years of age include (4) having contact with juveniles younger than 14 years of age with a part of the body or using tools with sexual intention, (5) solicitation and inducement, etc. for the purpose of doing (4), and (6) these acts committed by persons who are in the position to support juveniles aged 14 or over and younger than 18 years of age.
(2) Trends in sexual offenses
Fig. 6-4-5-4 shows trends in the number of reported cases for sexual offenses in Canada, over the last 10 years. Reported cases for sexual offenses have been decreasing both in the total figure and figures by type of offense. The percentage of level 1 has constantly been over 85%.
Fig. 6-4-5-4 Number of reported cases for sexual offenses (Canada) (1995-2004)
(3) Countermeasures against sexual offenses
As countermeasures against sexual offenses in Canada, there are (1) the system of special indeterminate sentence to ensure social safety by imprisoning offenders for a long term, (2) sex offender treatment programs in institutions, (3) community-based treatment for sex offenders (probationary supervision), (4) the system of long-term community-based supervision after completion of terms of sentences and terms of probationary supervision based on parole, (5) sureties to keep the peace, and (6) sex offender information registration system to help the police clear sexual offenses.
a. System of special indeterminate sentence - System to recognize "dangerous offenders"
This is the system where absolute indeterminate sentence without any determinate maximum term can be rendered to an offender when a court ordered custody up to 60 days for an assessment upon a request from a public prosecutor after the offender was convicted for certain offenses but prior to the determination of sentence, and the court recognized him/her as a "dangerous offender" based on the results of assessment. Requirements for recognition in case of persons convicted for sexual assault are that the person is recognized as incapable of controlling his/her sexual desires and thereby highly likely to cause harm to other persons in the future. Under this system, the National Parole Board assesses whether or not to grant parole to each person when seven years have elapsed since commencing the execution of sentence. If it is judged inappropriate to grant parole, such assessment is repeated every two years. As this is a system of absolute indeterminate sentence, offenders can be placed under lifetime imprisonment without parole. As of May 2005, 336 persons were recognized as "dangerous offenders." Among these, 17 were on parole and 319 were imprisoned (Source: Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness of Canada).
b. Sex offender treatment programs in institutions (Federal penal institutions)
Sex offender treatment programs consist of various courses of programs mainly through approaches based on Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment with relapse prevention as the major goal. They are mainly carried out through group work and individual treatment is added as needed.
Sex offenders receive either of high-intensity, mid-intensity, or low-intensity sex offender treatment programs according to the results of the Sex Offender Risk Assessment (SORA) conducted upon entry to penal institutions. The SORA consists of the following three assessment criteria: a criterion to assess sex offenders' static risk of repeating offenses (Static-99) and criteria to assess their dynamic risk of repeating offenses (Stable-2000 (measuring long-term variable factors) and Acute-2000 (measuring short-term variable factors)). The urgency and the required intensity of sex offender treatment are determined by processing assessment points obtained based on these criteria statistically in an integrated manner.
c. Community-based treatment for sex offenders (probationary supervision)
Community-based treatment for sex offenders provided by probation offices consists of treatment for parolees, treatment provided at halfway houses after offenders are released on parole and before being placed under ordinary probationary supervision, and treatment for those who received probation orders. For those who received probation orders, probation officers themselves conduct treatment based on relapse prevention programs, supported by professionals, and drug treatment entrusted to medical agencies is sometimes added.
The parole system in Canada is roughly divided into Full Parole (where parole is decided individually by the National Parole Board) and Statutory Release (where inmates are automatically released after a certain period of time without a decision by the National Parole Board). In the case of Statutory Release, inmates are released on parole after the statutory period (two-thirds of the term of sentence) elapsed and are placed under treatment by probation offices. However, as an exception, when the National Parole Board judges that an inmate who received recommendation from the Correctional Service of Canada is likely to commit sexual offenses, etc. against juveniles, the Board may make a decision to continue detaining the relevant inmate even after the statutory release date. This strict procedure is sometimes applied when releasing sex offenders on parole.
d. System of long-term community-based supervision
Under this system, certain sex offenders, etc. are placed under community-based supervision based on an order from the court even after completion of the term of sentence for a period not exceeding 10 years. The targets are those who do not meet the criteria of the above-mentioned "dangerous offenders" but are recognized as requiring continuous community-based supervision for a reasonable period even after completing the term of parole or being released after completion of the term of sentence. Concretely, when a person, who does not meet the criteria of "dangerous offenders" but is convicted for certain sexual offenses, is recognized as a long-term offender with risks to cause harm to others in the future by repeating the same type of offenses, the court may issue a long-term supervision order by specifying the term, as well as rendering a sentence of imprisonment for at least two years or more. This may conquer the limit of the parole system, which attaches importance to the execution of the rest of sentences, and enable ongoing supervision in society even after completion of the term of sentence for a period recognized as necessary. In FY2004, 94 persons were under a long-term supervision order. Among them, sex offenders accounted for 81.9%. The percentage has been almost over 80% over the last four years (Source: National Parole Board). When a person who had been under a long-term supervision order is released, the National Parole Board may specify various parole conditions, and violations of these conditions are punished as new offenses with imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years, etc.
e. Sureties to keep the peace for sex offenders, etc.
With regard to a person who is likely to commit sexual offenses against juveniles younger than 14 years of age in the future, the judge may, upon a request from the other person afraid of that risk or an agent thereof, have the target submit recognizances and impose conditions for him/her to follow during a period not exceeding 12 months. The violations of these conditions are punished as offenses with imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, etc.
f. Sex offender information registration system
The Federal Sex Offender Information Registration Act was enacted on April 1, 2004 and was put into force on December 15, 2004. This Act aims to support investigation into sexual offenses by the police and does not intend to disclose registered information. This system requires those convicted for certain sexual offenses to notify their address, etc. and the duration of notification obligation may be 10 years, 20 years, or lifetime according to the seriousness of the sentencing. Violations of notification obligation are punished.