photo of a young man in a wheelchair in front of a busy crosswalk

The Toronto Police Services is here to provide assistance and support. For further information on the community support resources available to you, sexual assault investigations, possible outcomes and the criminal court process visit our Guide for Survivors of Sexual Assault, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

Along the bottom you will see quick exit instructions. If at any time you feel you are in danger please call 911.


The following is a collection of terms used either in the Guide and/or this website:


When a judge or jury finds a person is not guilty of the crime they were charged with.


Something that has been stated, but not necessarily confirmed.

Civil Action

A non-criminal, court action that is brought to protect a person’s rights.


To obey someone else’s command, request, rule, or wish.


A formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense, made by a Judge or jury in a court of law.

Crown Attorney

A government lawyer who prosecutes criminal cases in the Canadian legal system.

Defense Lawyer

The attorney representing the defendant in a lawsuit or criminal prosecution.


To improve or increase the quality, amount or strength of something.


Absolutely necessary or extremely important.


Presented in court in proof of the facts, this may include testimony of witnesses, records, documents or objects.


Items marked to be introduced as evidence in court.

Federal Prison

In Canada, the Correctional Service of Canada operates federal penitentiaries, which house inmates with sentences of two years or more.

Fight, Flight or Freeze

The way a person may react when they are threatened or assaulted. They may fight the offender, runaway or be unable to move.

Financial Compensation

Providing a person with money for the costs of damage, loss or injuries that they have incurred.

Forensic Evidence

Scientific evidence that is used in court. Forensic evidence often helps the court decide if the offender is guilty or innocent.

Immigration Status

Refers to whether the person is a non-immigrant, an immigrant or a non- permanent resident.


Any person who is impaired by reason of mental illness, mental deficiency, physical illness or disability, use of drugs / intoxication, or other cause (except minority) to the point that they lack the understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions.


A public official who is appointed to decide cases in a court of law.


A group of people (typically twelve) that decide the verdict in a court.

Parole Board

A panel of people who decide whether an offender should be released from prison on parole after serving at least a minimum portion of their sentence.

Provincial Jail

Adults are sentenced to provincial jails when they receive sentences of less than two years.


The action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.


Connected or related to the current situation.


The act of making up for damages or harm.


To bring back to a state of health, soundness, or vigor.


The punishment given to a person convicted of a crime.

TTY System

A special device that lets people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech- impaired use the telephone to communicate, by allowing them to type messages back and forth to one another instead of talking and listening.


A decision on an issue of fact in a civil or criminal case or an inquest.

Victim Notification System

Provides certain information on specific adult offenders in the Ontario corrections system. You can register to be notified about pending changes in release status of an offender.

Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP)

Provides information, assistance and support to victims and witnesses of crime to increase their understanding of, and participation in, the criminal court process.

Witness Protection Program

A program provided to individuals whose safety may be at risk because they have helped the police or the courts. They can be victims, compromised informants, police agents or independent witnesses who receive a threat of intimidation or violence.

Download a copy of the Guide to Sexual Assault in your language

This Project has been made possible by a grant from the Government of Ontario

For the purpose of this website, the Toronto Police Service has used “survivor” as an umbrella term to refer to anyone who has been sexually assaulted. However, we support a person’s right to choose how they wish to be identified. It is also important to note, this is not legal advice. Every effort is made to provide precise information, however your rights and a police officer’s responsibilities depend on the situation. If, at any time, you're unsure of your rights you can ask the police officer. They are required to tell you. The Toronto Police Service bears no responsibility for information on other websites. While we strive to maintain accurate and survivor-focused resources, it cannot be guaranteed. This project has been made possible by a grant from the Government of Ontario.