Sexual Violence


Sexual Violence is an all-encompassing term that includes sexual assault, sexual abuse, human (sex) trafficking and sexual harassment. The word violence does not only refer to physical violence but also includes emotional and psychological harm.

Sexual Assault means any unwanted sexual act or behavior which is threatening, violent, forced, or coercive and to which a person has not given consent to or was not able to give consent. Sexual assault is most often used in reference to a single experience.

Sexual Abuse is a sexual act committed against a child or adolescent or a vulnerable adult by someone in a position of power or authority/perceived authority. Sexual abuse often involves abusive acts over a longer period of time and might have started with grooming behaviours.

Human Trafficking means recruiting, harbouring or controlling a person using force, physical or psychological coercion or deception. Traffickers often make victims perform sexual acts or do work. Sex trafficking means someone who has been forced or fooled into exchanging sex for something like money, food, drugs, alcohol, transportation or shelter. Sex trafficking is the most common reported type of human trafficking in Ontario.

Sexual harassment means any unwanted comment, gesture or action that is sexual in nature (aside from unwanted touching of sexual body parts which is sexual assault), that makes someone feel afraid, embarrassed, uncomfortable or ashamed. It includes harassing someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Counselling for sexual violence can help you understand the complex and confusing emotions you are experiencing, develop new coping skills you might need to manage your feelings and reactions, and understand and accept you are not responsible or at fault.

Where to get immediate help

  1. If you have been sexually assaulted, call 911 for an ambulance or go directly to the Emergency Department.
  2. If you are a survivor or victim of Human Trafficking, call 911 or, in Thunder Bay, call Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services (807) 684-1051. For other supports, visit the Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking web-site.