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Study: Criminal victimization in the workplace

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The Daily

Friday, February 16, 2007

Nearly one-fifth of all incidents of violent victimization, including physical assault, sexual assault and robbery, occurred in the victim's workplace in 2004, according to a first-ever study measuring criminal victimization on the job.

The study used self-reported data from the 2004 General Social Survey that questioned respondents in about 24,000 households about the prevalence of violence for three offences (physical assault, sexual assault and robbery) in the 12 months prior to the survey.

The report found that there were more than 356,000 violent incidents in the workplace in the 10 provinces. The majority of these workplace incidents, 71%, were classified as physical assaults.

For the purposes of this study, a "workplace" was a commercial or institutional establishment, such as a restaurant or bar, a school, a commercial or office building, a factory, a store, a hospital or a prison.

It was found that men and women were equally likely to have reported experiencing workplace violence, but men were more likely to be injured. Specifically, 27% of incidents involving male victims resulted in injuries, compared with 17% of those involving female victims.

Violence in the workplace was much more common in certain employment sectors. One-third of all workplace violent incidents involved a victim who was working in social assistance or health care services such as hospitals, nursing or residential care facilities.

The study also found a high proportion of incidents against those working in accommodation or food services, retail or wholesale trade, and educational services sectors.

Violent workplace incidents were twice as likely as violent incidents that occurred outside the workplace to be reported to the police (37% compared to 17%).

Overall, 57% of violent workplace incidents involving male victims were reported to the police, compared to 20% of those involving female victims.

The survey also asked victims whether they talked to anyone about the incidents that they had experienced. In nearly 9 out of 10 incidents, victims of workplace violence said they told another co-worker about the incident. In about two-thirds of the incidents, victims said they told family, and also in about two-thirds of the incidents, they told friends or neighbours. They told a doctor or a nurse in 20% of incidents.

In contrast, among incidents outside the workplace, victims sought support from a co-worker in 30% of incidents, family in 47% of incidents, friends or neighbours in 76% of incidents and a doctor or nurse in 6% of incidents.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 4504.

The profile "Criminal victimization in the workplace" is now available as part of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics Profile Series (85F0033MIE2007013, free). From the Publications module on our website, under Free Internet publications choose Crime and justice.

For more information, or to enquire about concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Information and Client Services (toll-free 1-800-387-2231; 613-951-9023), Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.