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Violent victimization of lesbians, gays and bisexuals in Canada, 2014

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Released: 2018-05-31

Lesbians, gays and bisexuals more likely than heterosexuals to experience violent victimization

Canadians who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) were more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to experience violent victimization in the previous 12 months.

Today, a Juristat article focusing on the self-reported experiences of "Violent victimization of lesbians, gays and bisexuals in Canada, 2014," is available. The article uses data from the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS) on Canadians' Safety (Victimization).

Among Canadians aged 18 and older, there were more than 100,000 self-reported incidents of violent victimization—that is, physical assault, sexual assault or robbery—involving a bisexual victim. In addition, there were more than 49,000 violent incidents involving a lesbian or gay victim. That corresponds to rates of 267 violent incidents per 1,000 population for bisexual victims, and 142 per 1,000 population for lesbian or gay victims.

By comparison, the rate of self-reported violent victimization among heterosexual individuals was 69 incidents per 1,000 population.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Rate of violent victimization, by sexual orientation, Canada, 2014
Rate of violent victimization, by sexual orientation, Canada, 2014

Larger decrease in violent victimization for lesbians and gays than for heterosexuals since 2009

The rate of self-reported violent victimization was stable from 2004 to 2014. However, there was a notable decrease among lesbians and gays (-67%) and heterosexual individuals (-30%) from 2009 to 2014. There was no rate change for bisexual individuals.

After controlling for age, likelihood of being a victim of violent victimization is still higher for lesbian, gay or bisexual Canadians

Research has found that age is a factor related to higher rates of violent victimization. Overall, LGB individuals tend to be significantly younger than heterosexuals. After controlling for the age of the LGB population, their overall rate of violent victimization was more than double that of heterosexual Canadians: 165 incidents per 1,000 population versus 69 incidents. In other words, the fact that LGB Canadians are, on average, younger than heterosexual Canadians explains some, but not all, of the difference in the violent victimization rates between these two populations.

Bisexuals almost nine times more likely than heterosexuals to be sexually assaulted

Although self-reported data from the 2014 GSS on Victimization generally show that rates of violent victimization were higher among non-heterosexual Canadians, bisexual individuals were particularly overrepresented as victims of violent crime. For instance, bisexual individuals experienced sexual assault at a rate nine times higher than their heterosexual counterparts, reporting 151 incidents per 1,000 population versus 17 incidents per 1,000 population for heterosexuals.

Women, regardless of sexual orientation, were more likely than men to be sexually assaulted. However, sexual assault was most commonly reported by bisexual women, with a rate seven times higher than heterosexual women (208 versus 29 incidents per 1,000 population).

  Note to readers

This Juristat article uses data from the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS) on Canadians' Safety (Victimization), which includes people 15 years of age and older in the provinces and territories, excluding residents of institutions. Only respondents aged 18 years and older were asked to report their sexual orientation. As such, this analysis does not include respondents aged 17 years and younger. Further, while Canada recognizes the rights of LGBTQ2 (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited) Canadians, the 2014 GSS on Victimization only asked respondents whether they identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

The GSS on Victimization was conducted in English and French, and it did not include those who did not speak either official language. Due to differences in methodology, any trend data presented in this report does not include the territories.


The Juristat article "Violent victimization of lesbians, gays and bisexuals in Canada, 2014" (Catalogue number85-002-X) is now available.

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