What is sexual interference?
Sexual interference is the intentional touching of a person under the age of 16 for a sexual purpose. While similar to sexual assault, this offence is reserved only for situations in which the complainant is under the age of 16.
Unlike sexual assault that requires the touching to be of a “sexual nature”, sexual interference goes further and requires the touching to be for a “sexual purpose.” Touching for a sexual purpose requires that the accused intended sexual interaction of any kind and with that specific intent, made contact with the body of a person under 16 with any part of the accused’s body or object. Touching of a sexual nature for the purposes of a sexual assault does not require there to be an element of sexuality on the part of the accused. This makes sexual interference more difficult for the Crown Prosecutor to prove because they must demonstrate the accused had the specific intent to touch for a sexual purpose, rather than simply touching.
In order to be convicted of sexual interference, the Crown must prove the following essential elements:
- The accused knew the complainant was under the age of 16 or failed to take reasonable steps to determine the complainant’s age;
- The accused touched the complainant for a sexual purpose with his or her body or object; and
- The touching was intentional
Sexual interference carries significant penalties if convicted. The starting point for a major sexual interference is 3 years’ incarceration in which there was a serious violation of the physical and sexual integrity of the complainant and that a reasonable person could reasonably foresee that the act could cause the complaint serious psychological harm. It is important to contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer if you have been charged with any sexual offence. Cory Wilson has successfully represented individuals charged with all sexual offences, including sexual interference.