You have choices and you're not alone.

Understand your criminal and civil legal options.

What legal options do survivors have?

If you are pursuing legal action, there are two types of proceedings – criminal and civil. You can pursue one, the other, or both.
Managing Partner of Hammerco Lawyers LLP, Morgyn Chandler, breaks down the difference between criminal and civil proceedings and role the survivor plays in each.

If You Are Ready To Tell Your Story,
You Have Legal Options

Sexual assault is a tragic, life-shattering experience that can have long-term effects on survivors. If you or someone you care about is a survivor of sexual abuse or assault, there are some important things you should know about sexual assault and the law.

Whether you were assaulted recently or decades ago, there is no time limit in Canada for you to bring a claim against a person or organization responsible for a sexual assault. 

There are criminal cases, and there are civil cases. In criminal cases, the police decide if your attacker will face criminal charges and the Crown Prosecutor decides if the case will go through the courts. Criminal cases can lead to conviction and punishment such as jail time and a criminal record. In civil cases, you start a lawsuit against the assailant, seeking financial compensation for the harm you suffered due, and to hold your attacker accountable for what happened.

There can be one or the other or both. The main difference between criminal and civil cases is the standard of proof. It’s more difficult to prove someone’s guilt in criminal court.

Hammerco Lawyers has an experienced team of civil litigators who represent sexual assault survivors in civil lawsuits. We understand the need to have a safe place where you can tell your story and discuss your legal options with a lawyer who can offer clear, candid, and compassionate advice about bringing a claim. Your well-being is our priority.

Sexual abuse survivors come from all walks of life.

Helpforme.ca Resources created by lawyers to help you understand your legal options.

What are common types of sexual assault?

Quick FAQs

It is never too late to come forward. Whether the incident occurred 40 years ago or a few months ago, there is no statute of limitations for bringing forward a sexual assault claim in Canada.
The cost of taking legal action can vary per firm or by case. You may qualify for what we call a contingency fee arrangement. This means the fee is not determined by an hourly rate or the amount of time it takes, but by the result of your case. All costs are deferred until the case is won and there are no fees for cases that do not reach settlement.
While legal action can’t erase the trauma, a civil claim can provide compensation for loss of income, physical and psychological trauma, and treatment expenses, all of which can help survivors move forward in their lives. Survivors can also be entitled to uncapped damages for aggravated and punitive injuries sustained in the past, present, and future such as wage loss or impeded career goals.
Every case is different. The type of legal fee will depend on your particular situation. You may qualify for our contingency fee option, which means that you do not have to pay a legal fee until your claim is resolved satisfactorily.
It is never too late to come forward. Whether the incident occurred 40 years ago or a few months ago, there is no statute of limitations for bringing forward a sexual assault claim in Canada.
The cost of taking legal action can vary per firm or by case. You may qualify for what we call a contingency fee arrangement. This means the fee is not determined by an hourly rate or the amount of time it takes, but by the result of your case. All costs are deferred until the case is won and there are no fees for cases that do not reach settlement.
While legal action can’t erase the trauma, a civil claim can provide compensation for loss of income, physical and psychological trauma, and treatment expenses, all of which can help survivors move forward in their lives. Survivors can also be entitled to uncapped damages for aggravated and punitive injuries sustained in the past, present, and future such as wage loss or impeded career goals.
Every case is different. The type of legal fee will depend on your particular situation. You may qualify for our contingency fee option, which means that you do not have to pay a legal fee until your claim is resolved satisfactorily.
Download the Sexual Assault
Legal Options Handbook
Breaking down your criminal and civil legal options.
Download the Sexual Assault Support Resources Handbook
Information on support services available to you.