Section 1: Prevalence and severity of violence against women

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By Maire Sinha

Quantifying the problem of violence against women—estimating the number of women violently victimized in the population—can be challenging for two main reasons. First, the possibility of undercounting can exist regardless of the survey instrument used. This is because women may be reluctant to disclose their victimization to anyone, including authorities or survey interviewers.

Second, estimates of the prevalence of violence can vary depending on the survey, given the differences in the way administrative and population-based surveys measure the amount of crime or victimization. Police-reported administrative surveys record all Criminal Code offences, both non-violent and violent, but only capture those crimes that come to the attention of police.

In comparison, population-based surveys, namely self-reported victimization surveys, record information on crimes regardless of whether they are reported to and substantiated by police. They do not, however, collect information for all crimes. The General Social Survey (GSS) on Victimization, collected every five years, is limited to eight offences in total, three of which are violent including physical assault, sexual assault, and robbery, with a special module on spousal violence and a question on stalking. By comparison, the police-reported Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey captures all Criminal Code violent offences, categorized into over 50 categories.

Recognizing the benefits and limitations of these data sources, this analysis draws on data from both complementary surveys to assess the nature and extent of violence against women. Due to the divergent methodologies between surveys, comparisons should be made cautiously (see Survey descriptions section for a detailed description of these surveys).

This section first examines the overall prevalence, trends and regional variations in violence against women aged 15 years and older, including all forms of violent crimes directed at women. Similar to the 2006 edition of Measuring Violence Against Women, the analysis then focuses on the extent and severity of specific forms of gender-based violence, including intimate partner violence, sexual violations and criminal harassment.

Overall prevalence of violence against women

Police-reported violence against women

Women at slightly higher risk of being violently victimized than men

According to police-reported data, about 173,600 women aged 15 years and older were victims of violent crime in 2011. This translates into a rate of 1,207 female victims for every 100,000 women in the population, 5% higher than the rate of violence against men (1,151 per 100,000) (Table 1.1).

Overall, women and men tend to be victims of similar offences. The five most common violent offences committed against women were common assault (49%), uttering threats (13%), serious assaultNote 1 (10%), sexual assault level 1 – the least serious form of sexual assault (7%), and criminal harassment (7%). For men, the most frequently occurring offences were common assault (42%), serious assault (19%), uttering threats (16%), robbery (10%), and other assaults (5%). The main differences were that women were more likely than men to be victims of a sexual offence, while men were more likely to be robbed.

For certain offences, women had a much higher rate of police-reported violence than men. Women were eleven times more likely than men to be sexually victimized, three times as likely to be stalked (criminally harassed), and twice as likely to be the victim of indecent and harassing phone calls. However, for some violent crimes, women had a lower risk than men. These offences included homicide, attempted murder, serious physical assault, robbery and uttering threats.

Homicides against women stable over the past decade

Over the course of the past three decades, communities and governments have invested resources with the goal to reduce the prevalence of violence against women (Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women 2002). While monitoring trends in violence against women cannot indicate whether interventions have been effective, examining prevalence over time can help to inform the development and evaluation of initiatives. One approach to assessing trends in violence against women is to examine changes in the prevalence of homicide. This is because homicide is generally considered a strong barometer of violent crime in general, as they are more likely than other violent crimes to be reported to police and are typically the subject of exhaustive police investigation (Nivette 2011, Van Dijk 2008).

When examining homicides of women, the overall rate decreased sharply between the mid-1970s and 2000, dropping 58% (Chart 1.1). However, over the past decade, the rate of homicide against women has remained relatively stable, despite annual fluctuations. These data include those incidents where homicides have been confirmed and recorded by police and do not include unconfirmed reports, such as in the case of missing women. Some possible explanations behind the decrease in the 1980s and 1990s have included improvements in women's socio-economic status, combined with the growth and availability of resources for victims (Dawson et al. 2009).

Chart 1.1
Rate of homicides, by sex of victim, 1971 to 2011

Description for chart 1.1

Chart 1.1 Rate of homicides, by sex of victim, 1971 to 2011

Note: Includes homicides (excluding other violations causing death) of those aged 15 years and older. Excludes homicides where the victim's sex and age was unknown.
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

In comparison, homicide rates against men, which have been historically higher than rates against women, have been generally stable since the late 1990s. While homicides against men increased in 2011, the rate increase was less pronounced than the rate increase for women (+6% versus +16%).

Police-reported rates of physical assault down, while rates of sexual assault stable

There is some indication that other forms of violence against women have decreased in recent years.Note 2 Data from the Incident-based UCR trend file, representing 99% of the population, show a decrease in attempted murders and physical assaultsNote 3 against women between 2009 and 2011 (Table 1.2). Decreases were also recorded for attempted murders and physical assaults against men, though the decreases for men were more pronounced.

One offence that has not decreased in recent years is sexual assault. The rate of police-reported sexual assaultsNote 4 against women increased in 2010 and remained stable in 2011. While also seeing an increase in 2010, the rate of police-reported sexual assaults against men in 2011 decreased. It is noteworthy that a significant proportion of sexual assaults do not come to the attention of police (for full discussion, see Section 4).

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Police-reported hate crimes directed at women

In some instances, women can be targeted solely because of their gender. The most notable Canadian example is the 1989 killing of 14 female students in Montreal, which was motivated by the male perpetrator's general hatred of women. This act led to the creation of the "National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women", honouring these victims and all victims of violence against women (Status of Women Canada n.d.).

Offences can be considered hate crimes if the incident is motivated by hatred towards a particular group based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or other similar factors. In 2010, there were seven crimes where police determined that hatred of the person's sex was the primary motive for the offence. Of these, three were violent, three were non-violent and one was unknown.Note 5

Besides being targeted solely for being a woman, women can also be targeted because of their racial or ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation or other characteristic. In 2010, women represented one-quarter of victims of all hate crimes in Canada. Their representation as victims varied by motive. In particular, women accounted for 32% of victims in incidents motivated by religion, 29% by race or ethnicity and 16% by sexual orientation.

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Provincial rates of police-reported violence against women highest in Saskatchewan and Manitoba

In all provinces and territories except Nova Scotia and British Columbia, the police-reported rate of violence against women in 2011 was either equal to or higher than violence directed at men (Table 1.3). The rate of police-reported violence against women was 5% lower than the rate for men in Nova Scotia and 8% lower in British Columbia.

Provincially, the prevalence of violence against women generally reflects regional variations in overall violent crime. Saskatchewan and Manitoba, which have consistently recorded the highest provincial rates of police-reported violent crime, had rates of violence against women in 2011 that were about double the national rate. The central provinces of Ontario and Quebec had the lowest rates of police-reported violence against women.

As with violent crime overall, the territories have consistently recorded the highest rates of police-reported violence against women in the country. The same was true in 2011. The rate of violent crime against women in Nunavut was nearly 13 times higher than the rate for Canada (Table 1.3). Similarly, the rate in the Northwest Territories was nine times higher than average, while Yukon's rate was the lowest among the territories, with a rate that was four times the national average.

Earlier research has suggested that differences in the demographic characteristics of territorial residents may help explain women's increased risk of violence (Johnson 2006). According to the 2011 Census, the population in the territories was significantly younger on average, a consistent risk factor for victimization. Further, those living in the territories are also more likely to have other socio-demographic factors, as collected by the 2006 Census, associated with victimization, including identifying as Aboriginal, being single and having less than a high school education. For full discussion of risk factors associated with victimization, see the section on risk factors for violence against women.

Police-reported violence against women most prevalent in Thunder Bay

Among census metropolitan areas (CMA),Note 6 rates of violence against women follow a similar pattern as violence in the overall population. In 2011, Thunder Bay and Saskatoon recorded rates that were nearly double the average among CMAs (Table 1.4). Saint John and Regina had the next highest rates of violence against women. The CMAs with the lowest prevalence rates were all situated in Ontario and Quebec.

Among the three largest CMAs, Vancouver recorded the highest rate of violence against women. While lower than the national average, its rate was 5% higher than Montreal and 21% higher than Toronto.

Intimate partners most common perpetrators of police-reported violence against women

In general, the nature of violence against women is distinctly different from violence directed at men. In 2011, intimate partners, including spouses and dating partners, were the most common perpetrators in violent crime against women (Chart 1.2). They represented 45% of all those accused of victimizing women, followed by acquaintances or friends (27%), strangers (16%) and non-spousal family members (12%). This contrasts violent crimes against men, where intimate partners were among the least common perpetrators (12%) and where strangers and friends or acquaintances were the most common (39% and 40%, respectively).

Chart 1.2
Victims of police-reported violent crimes, by sex of victim and accused-victim relationship, 2011

Description for chart 1.2

Chart 1.2 Victims of police-reported violent crimes, by sex of victim and accused-victim relationship, 2011

1. Intimate partner includes spousal and dating partners.
Note: Includes victims aged 15 years and older. Excludes victims with unknown sex and/or age.
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

Reflecting these gendered patterns in the types of violent perpetrators, more than two-thirds of violent incidents (69%) against women were committed in private residences, such as the victim and/or offender's home. This compares to 44% of violent incidents against men.

The majority of perpetrators of police-reported violence against women were men. Overall, men were responsible for 83% of violence committed against women, with women accounting for the remaining 17%. The share of violence committed by men differed by the accused person's relationship with the female victim. Male accused accounted for 60% of violence committed by friends or acquaintances, 68% of non-spousal family violence, 74% of stranger violence and 98% of intimate partner violence. The over-representation of men as accused was also evident for violence directed at men, with male accused representing 76% of all perpetrators.

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Police-reported violence against girls under the age of 12

It is recognized that violence against females can start before girls ever reach adolescence. In some countries, the preference of parents for boys over girls has resulted in a high rate of female infant mortality, while the infliction of injury under the guise of traditional customs, notably female genital mutilation, has resulted in life-long harm for girls and women (Adam et al. 2010). In Canada, as in other countries, violence against girls under 12 is often perpetrated in the home by family members. This is because young girls are dependent on adults, primarily their parents, for their daily needs (Boudreaux and Lord 2005).

Using police-reported data, it is possible to examine the prevalence and severity of violence against girls, though it is noteworthy that incidents of victimization against young children, particularly the very young, are less often reported to police (Ogrodnik 2010).Note 7 Young children are either not developmentally capable of contacting police or have limited contact with those outside the home.

In 2011, approximately 8,200 girls under the age of 12 were victims of violent crime, representing half of all child victims of violent crime. The rate of 381 girl victims per 100,000 population was similar to the rate for boys (375 per 100,000 population), and was 83% lower than the rate among female youth (aged 12 to 17) and 67% lower than the rate for adult women.

Just over half of the violent crimes against girls were committed by a family member (56%), including a parent (biological, adoptive, step and foster parent), sibling, uncle, aunt or other extended family member. Just under one-quarter (23%) were perpetrated by a casual acquaintance,Note 8 10% by a stranger, 5% by a friend and 5% by an authority figure.

As with most crimes, males were most often identified as the perpetrator of violence against girls (79%). However, not all male perpetrators of violence against girls were adult men, as one-third (30%) of male accused were under the age of 18 years. Overall, male accused represented 85% of stranger-perpetrated violence, 80% of family violence, and 77% of offences committed by acquaintances or friends.

Sexual crimes were by far the most common offence against girls. In particular, 47% of all violent crimes against girls under 12 reported to police were sexual in nature, much higher than the corresponding share of violent crimes against womenNote 9 (7%). Level 1 sexual assaults accounted for the majority of sexual offences against girls (69%), followed by child-specific sexual offences (28%), such as sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, and luring a child via a computer.

Homicide was most commonly committed against infant girlsNote 10 than older aged girls and women. Between 2001 and 2011, there were 26 female infants killed per million population. This elevated risk during infancy was similar to the risk to infant boys (36 infant boys per million).

Over the previous three years, the rate of police-reported physical assaults against girls has remained relatively stable. Unlike trends for older females, the rate of sexual assaults against girls, including levels 1, 2 and 3, has decreased over the past three years and was 6% lower in 2011 than in 2009. A similar drop was recorded for boys. These trends in sexual assault do not include child-specific sexual offences, such as luring a child over the Internet and invitation to sexual touching, which have generally increased in recent years (Brennan 2012).

Provincially, police-reported rates of violence against girls under the age of 12 were highest in Saskatchewan (791 per 100,000 population) and Manitoba (622) and lowest in Ontario (301) and Prince Edward Island (290). This is in keeping with regional variations in violence against women and for the general population. Somewhat contrasting general regional patterns was the Yukon. While the territories historically have higher violent crime rates, the rate in the Yukon (633) was well below the other territories and was lower than Saskatchewan.

Despite being outside the provinces with the highest rates of violence against girls, prevalence rates were highest in Moncton (663) and Saint John (651). The two lowest rates of violence against girls were found in Ottawa (178) and Calgary (205).

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Police-reported violence against teenage girls aged 12 to 17 years

When children approach and enter their teen years, they can face new and different types of risk of violent victimization. In particular, with the broadening of activities, contacts, and independence from their families, their risk of victimization from individuals outside the family, such as dating partners grows (Pinheiro 2006, Beattie 2005).

According to police-reported data, there were nearly 27,000 female youth between the ages of 12 and 17 years who were violently victimized in 2011. The rate of 2,273 female youth victims per 100,000 population was nearly six times higher than the rate for younger aged girls (under the age of 12), and almost twice as high as the rate for adult women (aged 18 and older).

The rate of physical assaults against female youth has decreased over the past three years, with a rate in 2011 that was 6% lower than in 2009. A greater decrease was recorded in the physical assault rate against male youth (-14%).

Trends in sexual assault follow a somewhat different pattern. The rate of sexual assaults against female youth dropped 4% in 2011, after increasing in 2010. This was similar to trends in sexual assaults against male youth.

In 2011, the rate of violence against female youth was 8% higher than the rate for male youth, which can be partly attributed to girls' higher risk of sexual violence. More specifically, female youth were eight times as likely as male youth to be a victim of sexual assault or another type of sexual offence (649 victims per 100,000 versus 81 per 100,000).

While their risk of sexual violence was elevated, sexual violations were not the most common form of victimization against female youth, diverging from patterns in violence against younger aged girls. Physical assault accounted for 47% of all violent crimes perpetrated against female youth, followed by sexual offences (29%), uttering threats (11%) and criminal harassment (5%).

Also, by the time girls approach and reach adolescence, casual acquaintances replace family members as the type of perpetrator most often responsible for violence (34% versus 24%). These perpetrators were most often female peers, as 39% of violence perpetrated by casual acquaintances involved female accused under the age of 18.

Rates of violence against teenage girls tend to follow the same regional patterns as violent crime patterns overall and against women. Among the provinces, female youth were most at risk in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where rates were about double the national average (4,834 and 3,982 per 100,000 population, respectively). The central provinces of Ontario and Quebec had the lowest police-reported rates of violence against teenage girls (1,813 and 1,960 per 100,000 population). All three territories had rates higher than those recorded in the provinces.

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Self-reported victimization against women

Victimization against women remains stable

When considering self-reported violent victimization, which includes both violent incidents reported to and not reported to police, there has been no change in the prevalence of violence against women over the past five years and within the previous decade. According to victimization data from the GSS conducted in 1999, 2004 and 2009, the rate of violent victimization against women aged 15 years and over has remained relatively stable between 1999 and 2009 (Table 1.5). In 2009, there were nearly 1.6 million self-reported violent incidentsNote 11 committed against women in the previous 12 months, a rate of 112 incidents per 1,000 women. This rate was comparable to that for men.

However, as is the case with police-reported data, the risk and trends of certain types of victimization vary between women and men. Women were more than twice as likely as men to report being a victim of sexual assault (34 incidents per 1,000 versus 15E per 1,000) (Chart 1.3). This gender difference has narrowed in recent years due to the stability in rates of sexual assault against women, combined with a significant increase in the rate of self-reported sexual assaults against men since 2004.

Chart 1.3
Self-reported violent victimization, by sex of victim and type of victimization, 2009

Description for chart 1.3

Chart 1.3 Self-reported violent victimization, by sex of victim and type of victimization, 2009

† reference category     
* significantly different from reference category (p < 0.05)                       
Note: Data from the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut were collected using a different methodology and are therefore excluded.         
Source: Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2009.  

Another significant change over the ten-year period relates to women's increased risk of robbery. Whereas in the past, the risk of robbery was heightened for men, women are now at equal risk as men of becoming a victim of robbery.

Physical assault was the one victimization type where women had a lower risk than men, a finding consistent over time. There has been no change in women's risk of physical assault since 1999, a trend similar to men.

Rates of self-reported violent victimization against women similar across the provinces

Victimization data indicate that the 2009 rates of self-reported violent victimization against women were similar across the provinces (Table 1.6). This pattern is in keeping with those for self-reported violent victimization against men, with the exception of Quebec where rates against men were significantly lower than the national average.

Self-reported victimization data on violence against women were available for four of the six largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs), namely Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton.Note 12 Among these CMAs, only Toronto had a rate of self-reported violent victimization against women that was significantly different from the national average, with a rate that was 45% lower than the rate for Canada.

Women more likely to know the perpetrator

Similar to police-reported findings, victimization data suggest that women were more likely than men to know the perpetrator. For instance, 62% of female victims of non-spousal violence knew their assailant. The reverse was true for male victims, where strangers accounted for the largest share of perpetrators (55%). The vast majority of perpetrators (91%) of self-reported non-spousal violence against women were men.

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Self-reported violence against women in the territories

In recent years, a number of enhancements have been made to the collection of self-reported victimization data in the territories. For the first time in 2004, as part of a pilot test, the GSS collected and released self-reported victimization information via telephone from Canadians living in the three territories. Data collection was repeated with the 2009 GSS using both telephone and face-to-face interviews. In 2009, self-reported victimization data for the territories were collected using a slightly different sampling and collection methodology. Therefore, direct comparisons between the provinces and territories should be avoided.

Results from the 2009 GSS indicate that women living in the territories had rates of violent victimization similar to men. In total, there were 6,445E self-reported violent incidents against women, representing a rate of 178E per 1,000 population aged 15 years and older.

A similarity in prevalence between women and men was also seen for spousal violence, with 10% of the territorial population aged 15 years and older with a current or former spouse reporting spousal victimization. However, the forms of spousal violence directed at women were more severe. In particular, women represented 78% of spousal victims who were beaten, choked, sexually assaulted or had a weapon used against them. Women were also more likely to fear for their lives as a result of the victimization (Perreault and Hotton Mahony 2012).

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Violence against Aboriginal women

Demographically, Aboriginal women differ in important ways from non-Aboriginal women. Population data suggest that the female Aboriginal population is growing at a faster pace than the female non-Aboriginal population and that this population is generally younger, more likely to be unmarried, and experience higher levels of unemployment (O'Donnell and Wallace 2011). In addition to demographic differences, the Standing Committee on the Status of Women (2011) has identified other larger socio-economic issues affecting Aboriginal people, such as economic and social inequalities, possible loss of understanding of history and culture and residential school experiences. Overall, it has been consistently found that Aboriginal women have a higher likelihood of being victimized compared to the rest of the female population (Brennan 2011, Perreault 2011).

According to the 2009 GSS, the rate of self-reported violent victimization against Aboriginal womenNote 13 in the provinces was about 2.5 times higher than the rate for non-Aboriginal women (279 versus 106 per 1,000 population). This was the case for spousal violence, as well as violence perpetrated by other family members, friends, acquaintances and strangers.

In some instances, the severity of violence also differed between Aboriginal women and their non-Aboriginal counterparts. For self-reported spousal violence, injury was more prevalent among Aboriginal female victims. Nearly 6 in 10 (59%) Aboriginal female spousal violence victims reported injury, while about 4 in 10 non-Aboriginal female victims were injured (41%).

Aboriginal female victims were also more likely to indicate that they feared for their lives as a result of spousal violence (52%E versus 31% of non-Aboriginal female victims). The higher likelihood of injury and fear among Aboriginal female victims may be partly related to the nature of spousal violence, as Aboriginal women often reported the most severe forms of violence, including being sexually assaulted, beaten, choked, or threatened with a gun or a knife (Brennan 2011). In contrast to spousal violence, the occurrence of injury was similar between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women among incidents of self-reported non-spousal violence.

Violence against Aboriginal women can take many forms, the most serious of which is homicide. The issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada has been identified at both the national and international levels (Department of Justice Canada 2010). However, quantifying the prevalence of this problem is difficult, since official statistics from the Homicide Survey only record homicides that have been confirmed and recorded by police and do not include unconfirmed reports, such as in the case of missing women.

Also, while it is possible to examine police-reported homicides of Aboriginal women, it is noteworthy that in half of all homicides (50%), the Aboriginal identityNote 14 of the homicide victims was unknown.Note 15 Between 2001 and 2011, at least 8% of all murdered women aged 15 years and older were Aboriginal, double their representation in the Canadian populationNote 16 (4%).

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Specific forms of gender-based violence

The following analysis explores specific types of gender-based violence, which are typically perpetrated by men against women. These include intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and criminal harassment (i.e., stalking). In particular, both the extent and severity of intimate partner violence is explored using police-reported and self-reported victimization data. Previous research has shown that intimate partner violence differs in both frequency and severity from other forms of violence (Sinha 2012, Wathen and MacMillian 2003). Next, using police and victimization survey data, the prevalence and severity of sexual violations and criminal harassment are examined.

Intimate partner violence

Intimate partner violence— violence committed by legally married, separated, divorced, opposite and same sex common-law, dating partners (current and previous) and other intimate partners —has been consistently identified as one of the most common forms of violence against women, both nationally and internationally (Sinha 2012, Johnson and Dawson 2011, WHO 2002). Intimate partner violence can encompass a range of abusive behaviours from verbal and emotional abuse to sexual violence, physical assaults and homicides. However, in this section, violence committed by intimate partners is examined using police-reported and victimization data, which are based on Criminal Code definitions. While both police-reported and victimization data are used to examine trends and characteristics in intimate partner violence, victimization data are limited to spousal violence, as the GSS contains a special module dedicated to spousal violence and only captures incidents of dating violence within the general victimization component of the survey.

Police-reported intimate partner violence

Women have higher rates of intimate partner violence than men

In 2011, 8 in 10 victims of police-reported intimate partner violence were women. Overall, there were about 78,000 female victims of intimate partner violence, representing a rate of 542 victims per 100,000 women aged 15 years and older. This compares to a rate of 139 male victims per 100,000 population.

Women's increased risk of police-reported intimate partner violence was evident for both spousal and dating violence. They were almost four times more likely than men to be victims of both spousal violence and dating violence.

Both women and men were more at risk of violence from dating partners than spouses. In 2011, at least 631 women per 100,000 unmarried population were victims of dating violence, 60% higher than the spousal violence rate (395 women per 100,000 ever married population).Note 17

Rate of intimate partner homicide has decreased

As was the case for violence overall, trends in intimate partner homicide can be an indicator of changes in the prevalence of intimate partner violence. Despite a 19% increase between 2010 and 2011, the rate of intimate partner homicides against women in 2011 was 51% lower than twenty years earlier and 15% lower than ten years ago (Chart 1.4). This overall decline in intimate partner homicides committed against women was driven by both spousal and dating homicides. Between 1991 and 2011, the rate of homicides against female spouses dropped 46%, while the rate of dating homicides against women fell by 65%.

Chart 1.4
Victims of intimate partner homicide, by sex of victim, 1991 to 2011

Description for chart 1.4

Chart 1.4 Victims of intimate partner homicide, by sex of victim, 1991 to 2011

Note: Rates are calculated on the basis of 1,000,000 population. Population based upon July 1st estimates from Statistics Canada, Demography Division. Intimate partners include legally married, separated, divorced, common-law, and dating partners (current and previous). A small number of homicides of dating partners under 15 years of age were excluded in rate calculations. Data on homicides between dating partners are not available prior to 1991. The Homicide Survey was revised and expanded in 1991 in an effort to respond to changing information needs. Excludes homicides where the age and/or sex of the victim was unknown.               
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey. 

Decreases have also been recorded for attempted murder and physical assault of female intimate partners, according to police-reported trend data for the years 2009 to 2011. In contrast to these decreases, the rate of sexual assaults against female intimate partners has increased. In 2011, women were 11% more likely to be the victim of police-reported sexual assault by an intimate partner than in 2009.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan record highest provincial rates of intimate partner violence

Given that a large share of violence against women is committed by intimate partners, it is not unexpected that regional variations in intimate partner violence are similar to overall violence against women. Among the provinces, the highest rate of intimate partner violence against women was reported in Saskatchewan, followed by Manitoba (Chart 1.5). The rates in these provinces were more than double those in Ontario and Quebec, the provinces with the lowest rates.

Chart 1.5
Victims of police-reported intimate partner violence, by sex of victim and province, 2011

Description for chart 1.5

Chart 1.5 Victims of police-reported intimate partner violence, by sex of victim and province, 2011

Note: Intimate partner violence refers to violence committed by legally married, separated, divorced, opposite and same sex common-law, dating partners (current and previous) and other intimate partners. Intimate partner category includes victims aged 15 to 89. Excludes incidents where the sex and/or age of the victim was unknown. Rates are calculated on the basis of 100,000 population.       
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

As is the case for most crimes, rates of intimate partner violence in the territories were considerably higher than any of the provinces (Chart 1.6). Nunavut recorded the highest territorial rate of intimate partner violence against women, at 7,772 female intimate partner violence victims per 100,000 population. This rate was four times higher than Yukon's rate (1,900) and double the rate recorded for the Northwest Territories (3,818).

Chart 1.6
Victims of police-reported intimate partner violence, by sex of victim and territory, 2011

Description for chart 1.6

Chart 1.6 Victims of police-reported intimate partner violence, by sex of victim and territory, 2011

Note: Intimate partner violence refers to violence committed by legally married, separated, divorced, opposite and same sex common-law, dating partners (current and previous) and other intimate partners. Intimate partner category includes victims aged 15 to 89. Excludes incidents where the sex and/or age of the victim was unknown. Rates are calculated on the basis of 100,000 population.
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

Thunder Bay records highest rate of intimate partner violence among CMAs

At the census metropolitan level, findings generally mirrored those from previous years. Based on police reported data, Thunder Bay recorded the highest rate of intimate partner violence against women (Table 1.7). This was followed by Regina and Saskatoon reporting the second and third highest rates.

All CMAs had rates of intimate partner violence that were consistently higher for women than men. However, the difference in risk varied. The highest ratio of female victims to male victims was recorded in the CMAs of Barrie, Abbotsford–Mission, St. Catharines–Niagara and Sherbrooke with ratios of 6 to 1. This means that, for every six female victims of intimate partner violence, there was one male victim. Among the CMAs with the lowest female to male victims of intimate partner violence were Victoria, Kelowna, Brantford, St. John's and Moncton, all of which had a ratio of three female victims to one male victim.

Physical assault most common form of intimate partner violence

Based on police-reported data, women victimized by their intimate partners were most often (73%) the victim of physical assault (Table 1.8). While in most instances (60%), these assaults were the least serious of the three levels of assault, 11% of these assaults were either aggravated assaults or assaults with a weapon. Physical assaults were also the most common form of violence involving male intimate partner victims. Intimate partner violence against women, however, was more likely than violence against men to involve sexual offences (3% versus less than 1%) and criminal harassment (8% versus 4%).

In 2011, about half (51%) of female victims of intimate partner violence suffered some type of injury, slightly lower than the percentage of men (55%). While some differences existed by specific offence type, the overall disparity between sexes, albeit small, is largely a reflection of gender differences in the most frequently occurring offences. A greater proportion of offences against women than men involved non-physical contact, such as criminal harassment. A small proportion (2%) of injuries to women resulted in the need for professional medical attention or hospitalization.

Majority of intimate partner violence against women did not involve weapons

Physical force was used against 48% of female victims of intimate partner violence, higher than the proportion for male victims (42%). Another 3% of female victims had a weapon used against them, most often knives/cutting instruments and other non-firearm weapons. In comparison, intimate partner incidents involving male victims were twice as likely to involve weapons. One explanation for these gender differences may be attributed to differences in physical strength between men and women and the corresponding reliance of female accused on weapons (Busch and Rosenberg 2004).

Six in ten spousal homicides against women had a history of family violence

One indicator of severity of intimate partner violence is the recurrent and ongoing nature of this violence. The Homicide Survey captures information on the history of family violence between the victim and accused, though it does not indicate whether the accused or the victim was the perpetrator of the prior violence, or whether the violence was previously committed by both parties against each other.Note 18

Between 2001 and 2011, police reported that about six in ten spousal homicides of women (59%)Note 19 had a history of family violence involving the victim and accused. This was lower than the proportion of spousal homicides against men with a history of family violence (78%).

In some homicides, the victim was the first to use or threaten to use violence.Note 20 According to police investigation, female victims were far less likely than male victims to be the first to use or threaten force. Six percent of female intimate partner violence victims initiated the violence that ended in their death, compared to 29% of male victims. Female spousal victims were as likely as dating partner victims to be the first to use or threaten violence (7% versus 5%). This finding contrasts homicides involving male victims, where spousal victims were twice as likely as dating victims to be the initiator of the violence that culminated in their death (36% versus 15%).

Self-reported spousal violence

Rates of self-reported spousal violence against women stable

Using the General Social Survey, it is possible to examine the prevalence and severity of one form of intimate partner violence—spousal violence.Note 21 According to the 2009 GSS, 6% of Canadian women currently or previously living in a spousal relationship experienced spousal violence in the previous five years, similar to rates reported for men (Table 1.9). This represented an estimated 601,000 women and 585,000 men that were either physically or sexually victimized by a legally married or common-law spouse (current or former).

While there was no significant change in the proportion of women who experienced spousal violence between 2004 and 2009, there was a statistically significant decline between 1999 (8%) and 2009 (6%). This decline was not present for spousal violence against men, where there was no significant change over time.

The decrease in spousal violence against women over a ten-year period can be attributed to changes in spousal violence involving previous spouses. In 2009, 20% of women who had contact with a previous spouse experienced physical or sexual violence by this spouse, either while still living together or after separation (Chart 1.7). This was down from 28% in 1999.

Chart 1.7
Self-reported spousal violence, by sex of victim and marital status, 1999, 2004 and 2009

Description for chart 1.7

Chart 1.7 Self-reported spousal violence, by sex of victim and marital status, 1999, 2004 and 2009

† reference category     
* significantly different from reference category (p < 0.05)           
Note: Data from the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut were collected using a different methodology and are therefore excluded.
Source: Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 1999, 2004, and 2009.

Despite the decline, rates of spousal violence within previous relationships remained significantly higher than in current unions for both women and men. Women were over six times more likely to report being victimized by a previous spouse in the last five years than by a current one. The proportion of current spouses reporting spousal violence has remained relatively stable over time at 3% of currently married women.

Spousal violence against women has decreased in Quebec and British Columbia

Consistent with overall trends, the proportion of women reporting spousal violence in all ten provinces remained unchanged between 2004 and 2009. However, significant drops in spousal violence against women were recorded in Quebec and British Columbia from 1999 to 2009. No jurisdiction recorded an increase in prevalence rates over this ten-year period.

A similar percentage of women reported experiencing spousal violence across the provinces. The one exception was Alberta, where the proportion of women experiencing spousal violence was significantly higher than the national average in 2009 (9% versus 6%) (Chart 1.8).

Chart 1.8
Victims of self-reported spousal violence within the past 5 years, by sex of victim and province, 2009

Description for chart 1.8

Chart 1.8 Victims of self-reported spousal violence within the past 5 years, by sex of victim and province, 2009

F too unreliable to be published  
Note: Includes legally married, common-law, same-sex, separated and divorced spouses who reported having experienced violence within the 5-year period preceding the survey. Excludes data from the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut. Data for the proportion of males who experienced spousal violence in Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island are not shown as they are too small to produce reliable estimates.           
Source: Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2009.

Severity of spousal violence decreasing

Women are more likely than men to experience the most severe forms of self-reported spousal victimization, despite having similar prevalence rates as men. In 2009, female spousal victims were over three times more likely than their male counterparts to report being sexually assaulted, beaten, choked or threatened with a gun or a knife (34% versus 10%E) (Chart 1.9). They were also much more likely than men to experience chronic forms of spousal violence, with 53% of female victims reporting multiple victimizations compared to 35% of male victims.

Chart 1.9
Self-reported spousal violence within the past 5 years, by sex of victim and most serious type of violence, 2009

Description for chart 1.9

Chart 1.9 Self-reported spousal violence within the past 5 years, by sex of victim and most serious type of violence, 2009

† reference category     
* significantly different from reference category (p < 0.05)           
Note: Data from the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut were collected using a different methodology and are therefore excluded. Don't know and not stated are included in the total but are not shown.    
Source: Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2009.

Another indicator of the heightened severity of spousal violence for women was their greater likelihood of being physically injured. In 2009, 42% of female spousal victims reported being injured in the previous five years, significantly higher than the 18% reported for male spousal victims. This contrasts non-spousal violence where there were no gender differences in injuries.

There is some evidence to suggest that the severity of spousal violence against women is decreasing. The proportion of women experiencing the most severe forms of violence has declined from 43% in 1999 to 34% in 2009 (Chart 1.10). Further, fewer women experienced multiple incidents of violence over this time period. In 1999, two-thirds (65%) of women who were victims of spousal violence reported that the violence occurred on more than one occasion, compared to 53% in 2009. There was, however, no change in the level of injury over this ten-year period.

Chart 1.10
Female self-reported spousal violence within the past 5 years, by most serious type of violence, 1999, 2004 and 2009

Description for chart 1.10

Chart 1.10 Female self-reported spousal violence within the past 5 years, by most serious type of violence, 1999, 2004 and 2009

† reference category     
* significantly different from reference category (p < 0.05)           
Note: Data from the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut were collected using a different methodology and are therefore excluded. Don't know and not stated are included in the total but are not shown.    
Source: Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 1999, 2004 and 2009.

Over 1 in 10 female spousal victims were pregnant at the time of the violence

In addition to immediate physical injury to women, intimate partner violence during pregnancy can have negative repercussions on both maternal health and birth outcomes (Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada 2005). According to the 2009 GSS, there were approximately 63,300 women who self-reported being victimized by a spouse in the previous five years while they were pregnant. This represents 11% of all female spousal victims.

About 1 in 10 female spousal victims reported harm to others in family

Measuring the severity of intimate partner violence can involve traditional indicators such as type of offence, injury and use of weapon. However, for spousal violence, previous research has suggested that severity can also be measured by the harm to others, such as children of the victim or offender (Sinha 2012).

The 2009 GSS indicates that 11%E of female spousal victims reported that their abuser had also physically or sexually abused someone else in their family. This was higher than the proportion of men reporting harm to others (6%E). Further, in 2009, 5%E of female spousal victims reported that children were harmed during the violent episode.

Besides direct harm, children can also witness spousal violence against women. Almost 6 in 10 (59%) female spousal victims with children reported that their children heard or saw the violent episode. This compares to 43% of male spousal victims. Further, when children did witness spousal violence, physical injuries were more than twice as common in spousal violence episodes against the child's mother than those against the child's father (52% versus 22%E).

Sexual offences

In 1983, the Criminal Code of Canada was amended to replace the offences of rape and indecent assault with a three-tier structure of sexual assault.Note 22 This legislative change aimed to reduce the stigma associated with reporting these crimes to police, by shifting the focus to the violent rather than the sexual nature of these offences (Kong et al. 2003). The 1983 amendments to the Criminal Code also eliminated the immunity to those accused of sexually assaulting their spouse and placed restrictions on the admissibility of the victim's prior sexual history. Since that time, a number of legislative and court decisions have further strengthened the provisions related to sexual crimes, including the introduction of provisions specific to sexual offences against children.

Police-reported sexual offences

Level 1 sexual assaults most common police-reported sexual offence against women

In 2009, a significant proportion of incidents of self-reported sexual assaults went unreported to police (for full discussion, see Section 4).Note 23 The high level of under-reporting of sexual assault suggests that the prevalence of police-reported sexual assaults may be an underestimation of the true extent of the problem.

Analysis of sexual offences that came to the attention of police include sexual assault levels 1, 2, and 3, as well as other sexual violations, such as voyeurism, sexual exploitation, incest, and child-specific sexual offences (e.g., invitation to sexual touching). Based on police-reported data, there were over 15,500 victims of sexual offences aged 15 years and older, most of whom were women (92%). Of these, the vast majority (91%) were level 1 sexual assaults, which were generally characterized by the absence of physical injury (75%) or the infliction of minor physical injuries to the female victim (25%).

The next most common sexual violations were other sexual offences, such as voyeurism and sexual exploitation, which represented 7% of all sex crimes. These offences rarely resulted in physical injury (5%) and when they did, the injuries were minor in nature.

The least common sexual violations, but most severe, were sexual assaults with a weapon (level 2) (2%) and aggravated sexual assaults (level 3) (less than 1%). Professional medical attention was required for 9% of female victims of level 2 sexual assault, and 38% of female victims of level 3 aggravated sexual assault. These findings were in keeping with those recorded for male victims of sexual offences.

Sexual offences against women remain stable

According to police-reported trend data, the rate of sexual assaults against women increased from 2009 to 2010 and remained unchanged in 2011. Trends in sexual assaults against men follow similar patterns, with the exception of a rate decrease in 2011. General trends in sexual assaults can be attributed to patterns in level 1 sexual assaults, the most common sexual offence.

Western provinces record highest rates of police-reported sexual offences

While rates of sexual offences were much higher for women than men in every province, there was considerable variation in prevalence across the country. Provincial rates of police-reported sexual offences against women were consistently elevated in the western provinces (Chart 1.11). Manitoba and Saskatchewan recorded the highest rates, at 189 and 164 victims per 100,000 women, respectively. These rates were well above those recorded in Alberta (125) and British Columbia (107), the provinces with the next highest rates. Rates were lowest in Quebec (69) and Prince Edward Island (69).

Chart 1.11
Victims of police-reported sexual offences, by sex of victim and province, 2011

Description for chart 1.11

Chart 1.11 Victims of police-reported sexual offences, by sex of victim and province, 2011

Note: Rates are calculated per 100,000 population aged 15 years and older. Excludes incidents where the sex and/or age of victim was unknown.     
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

The prevalence of sexual offences, like other violent crimes, is substantially higher in the northern territories. Figures for Northwest Territories and Nunavut indicate that women's risk was 9 and 12 times greater in these territories than the provincial average (Table 1.10). Yukon had a rate of sexual offences against women that was over 3.5 times the provincial average.

It is important to note that while regional variations in police-reported sexual offences can signify actual differences in prevalence, other explanations for differences have been offered (Kong et al. 2003). These include differences in perceptions of sexual assault and its impact on a victim's willingness to report to police, as well as variations in demographic profile, access to services for victims, and police training.

Winnipeg, Edmonton and Halifax record highest police-reported rates of sexual offences among CMAs

The rate of police-reported sexual offences involving women as victims varies greatly among census metropolitan areas (CMAs). Rates were highest in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Halifax, with police-reported rates at least two times higher than women living in the CMAs with the lowest sexual offence rates: Trois-Rivières, Ottawa and Québec (Table 1.11).

As with overall patterns, variations by CMA generally reflect patterns in the most frequently occurring sexual offence, level 1 sexual assault. For the most severe forms of sexual offences, the highest rates of victimization by CMA somewhat deviated from the pattern for the combined rate of sexual crimes. More specifically, the highest rates of sexual assault levels 2 and 3 against women were found in Regina (11 victims per 100,000 population), Hamilton (7 per 100,000), Edmonton (6 per 100,000) and London (6 per 100,000).

Those accused of sexual offences often known to the victim

Violent crimes are most often committed by someone known to the victim. This was also the case with sexual offences. In 2011, women knew their sexual attacker in three-quarters of incidents: 45% as a casual acquaintance or friend, 17% as an intimate partner and 13% as a non-spousal family member (Table 1.12). Exactly one-quarter of sexual assaults against women were committed by a stranger.

In nearly all incidents of sexual violence against women (99%), the accused perpetrator was male. This over-representation of males as accused, while consistent with patterns in violent offending, was more prevalent in sexual crimes than other violent crimes against women (82%).

Self-reported sexual assault

According to the 2009 GSS, 7 in 10 incidents of self-reported sexual assault were committed against women. In total, there were 472,000 sexual assaults reported by women in the previous 12 months, representing a rate of 34 sexual assault incidents for every 1,000 women (Table 1.5). This compares to a rate of 15E sexual assault incidents reported per 1,000 men.

Most incidents of self-reported sexual assaults against non-spousal victimsNote 24 involved the least severe forms. In 2009, 81% of sexual assault incidentsNote 25 against women involved unwanted sexual touching, including touching, grabbing, kissing or fondling. The remaining 19%E of incidents involved sexual attacks, where the accused sexually attacked the woman by threatening her, holding her down or hurting her in some other way. These patterns in the nature of sexual victimization against women have remained constant over the last ten years.

Western provinces report highest rates of sexual assault

The prevalence of self-reported sexual assault against women tends to be highest in the west and lowest in the east. In 2009, women living in Alberta and British Columbia experienced the highest rates of self-reported sexual assault (Chart 1.12).Note 26 The combined rate in these two western-most provinces was more than double the rates in the Atlantic provinces, Ontario and Quebec. For all regions, there has been no change in prevalence rates of sexual victimization between 1999 and 2009.

Chart 1.12
Self-reported sexual victimization of women, by region, 2009

Description for chart 1.12

Chart 1.12 Self-reported sexual victimization of women, by region, 2009

† reference category     
* significantly different from reference category (p < 0.05)           
1. Atlantic region refers to Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.       
2. Central region refers to Quebec and Ontario.   
3. Midwest region refers to Manitoba and Saskatchewan.  
4. Western region refers to Alberta and British Columbia.  
Note: Rates are calculated per 1,000 population aged 15 years and older. Data from the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut were collected using a different methodology and are therefore excluded.
Source: Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2009.

Criminal harassment

Criminal harassment, also known as stalking, first came into effect as a Criminal Code offence in 1993 and was created to protect victims of criminal harassment by criminalizing otherwise lawful behaviour that cumulatively amounted to 'stalking'. Criminal harassment is generally defined as committing any of the following actions in a way that causes a person to fear for their safety or for the safety of someone known to them, including:

  1. repeatedly following or communicating (in-person, by phone or over the Internet) with another person;
  2. repeatedly watching someone's home or workplace; or,
  3. directly threatening another person known to the victim or member of their family.

Police-reported criminal harassment

Women are predominantly the victims of criminal harassment. In 2011, there were approximately 11,700 female victims of police-reported criminal harassment, accounting for over three-quarters (76%) of all victims.

Regional patterns in police-reported criminal harassment differ from violent crime overall

Provincial and territorial patterns in criminal harassment deviate somewhat from regional patterns in overall police-reported violent crime. Manitoba, the province with one of the highest provincial rates of violent crime, recorded the lowest rate of police-reported criminal harassment against women (Table 1.13).

Also diverging from general regional patterns in violent crime was the Yukon. This territory had the fourth lowest rate of criminal harassment against women at 57 victims per 100,000 population, despite having one of the highest violent crime rates in the country.

The other two territories recorded the highest prevalence rates across Canada. Provincially, criminal harassment against women was most prevalent in New Brunswick, followed by Quebec and Ontario. These provinces, along with Prince Edward Island, also had the highest provincial rates of criminal harassment against men.

CMAs in central and eastern Canada recorded the highest rates of police-reported criminal harassment

Rates of police-reported criminal harassment against women were generally higher in the central and eastern portions of the country. With nearly triple the national rate (81), Thunder Bay (230) and Saint John (227) stood out as the CMAs with the highest rate of criminal harassment against women (Table 1.14). The lowest rates of criminal harassment were recorded in Winnipeg and Halifax (18 and 35 victims per 100,000 women). Similar variations were seen for rates of criminal harassment against men.

Intimate partners account for half of those accused of criminal harassment

Men are responsible for the vast majority of criminal harassment incidents against women. In 2011, 85% of perpetrators in stalking incidents against women were men, slightly higher than their representation in violence against women overall (83%).

These men were most often current or former intimate partners of the female victim, as more than half (58%) of all criminal harassment incidents against women were perpetrated by a male intimate partner (Chart 1.13). Another 20% were committed by a male acquaintance, while 9% were committed by a female friend or acquaintance. Strangers represented 8% of those accused of criminally harassing women, most of which were men.

Chart 1.13
Female victims of police-reported criminal harassment, by accused-victim relationship and sex of accused, 2011

Description for chart 1.13

Chart 1.13 Female victims of police-reported criminal harassment, by accused-victim relationship and sex of accused, 2011

Note: Excludes incidents where the sex and/or age was unknown. 
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

Criminal harassment sometimes precedes homicide

Criminal harassment, in itself, is unlikely to cause injury. In 2011, 2% of female victims of criminal harassment suffered injury, all of which were minor in nature. Despite the low occurrence of injury, it has been recognized that these acts may escalate in physical injury or death to victims (Department of Justice Canada 2004). According to homicide data over the previous decade, 39 women (2% of all female homicide victims) were killed after being criminally harassedNote 27 by the accused in the weeks, months or even years preceding their death. This includes three women who were killed in 2011.

Self-reported criminal harassment

3% of women reported being stalked in 2009

The 2009 GSS asked Canadians aged 15 years and older about their experiences of stalking. According to these data, women were twice as likely as men to self-report being a victim of stalking in the previous 12 months (3.0% versus 1.5%). In total, about 416,100 women reported being victims of stalking, compared to 204,500 men.

Quebec was the only province where the rate of self-reported criminal harassment against women was significantly higher than the national average (4% versus 3%) (Table 1.15). These findings were similar to those for men.

Data from the 2004 GSS, which included a special module on stalking, contained further information on the forms of stalking behaviours and characteristics of these self-reported victimizations. Based on findings from this survey, repeated, silent or obscene phone calls were the most common form of stalking episodes experienced by female stalking victims, whereas intimidation or threats were the most prevalent behaviour experienced by male stalking victims (AuCoin 2005).

Men were overwhelmingly the perpetrators in stalking incidents reported by women (80%). In contrast, women made up 18% of perpetrators in incidents of stalking reported by men. Results from the 2004 GSS also indicated that for both female and male victims of stalking, acquaintances or friends were most often involved, representing 45% and 57% of victims, respectively. Female victims were more often than male victims stalked by intimate partners, including spouses and dating partners (20% versus 11%).

While criminal harassment in itself rarely results in physical injury, it is often not an isolated event. Based on the 2004 GSS, 75% of women who were stalked by their estranged spouses were also the victim of physical or sexual assault by that same person (Johnson 2006).

Summary

This section examined trends and regional variations in the prevalence of violence against women in Canadian society, as well as the severity of the specific forms of gender-based violence. According to police-reported data, rates of attempted murder and physical assault against women have decreased in recent years, while sexual assault was stable in 2011. For self-reported victimization against women, rates have been relatively stable over the last ten years. Regional variations in violence against women tended to follow general patterns in violent crimes.

For both police-reported and victimization data, women are more often than men the victim of specific forms of violence. For instance, rates of police-reported intimate partner violence were higher among women than men. While rates of self-reported spousal violence were comparable between the sexes, women experienced the most severe types of spousal violence. Regardless of the survey instrument used, sexual crimes and criminal harassment was more prevalent among women than men.

Detailed data tables

Table 1.1 Victims of police-reported violence, by sex of victim and type of offence, Canada, 2011

Table 1.2 Rates of selected police-reported violent crimes for women, 2009 to 2011

Table 1.3 Police-reported victims of violent crime, by sex of victim and province/territory, 2011

Table 1.4 Victims of police-reported violence, by sex of victim and census metropolitan area, 2011

Table 1.5 Self-reported violent victimization, by sex, 1999, 2004 and 2009

Table 1.6 Self-reported violent victimization, by sex of victim and province, 2009

Table 1.7 Victims of police-reported intimate partner violence, by sex of victim and census metropolitan area, 2011

Table 1.8 Victims of police-reported violent crime by intimate partners, by type of offence and sex of victim, Canada, 2011

Table 1.9 Self-reported spousal violence, by sex, 1999, 2004 and 2009

Table 1.10 Victims of police-reported sexual offences, by sex of victim and territory, 2011

Table 1.11 Victims of police-reported sexual offences, by sex of victim and census metropolitan area, 2011

Table 1.12 Female victims of police-reported sexual assault, Canada, 2011

Table 1.13 Police-reported victims of criminal harassment, by sex of victim and province and territory, 2011

Table 1.14 Victims of police-reported criminal harassment, by sex of victim and census metropolitan area, 2011

Table 1.15 Self-reported criminal harassment, by sex of victim and region, 2009

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Notes

E use with caution

  1. Includes assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm (level 2) and aggravated assault in which the victim is wounded, maimed or disfigured (level 3).
  2. Analysis of the three-year trend database is limited to only those offences that have complete victim records and where UCR offence classification has remained constant over the three-year period. For the purpose of this Juristat article, the offences included in the trend analysis include attempted murder, physical assault (levels 1, 2, and 3) and sexual assault (levels 1, 2, and 3).
  3. Includes physical assault levels 1, 2, and 3.
  4. Includes sexual assault levels 1, 2, and 3.
  5. Incidents classified as unknown crime category were largely reported by police services that responded to the supplemental UCR2 Survey. A supplemental survey on hate crime has been conducted each year since 2006 as a means of obtaining information on hate-motivated crimes from those police services reporting microdata but who had not yet converted their electronic reporting systems to the newest UCR2.2 version. Additional information (e.g., type of crime, sex of victim, and relationship) was not provided by these respondents.
  6. A CMA consists of one or more neighbouring municipalities situated around a major urban core. A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more live in the urban core. To be included in the CMA, other adjacent municipalities must have a high degree of integration with the central urban area, as measured by commuting flows derived from census data. A CMA typically comprises more than one police service.
  7. Unlike for older victims, where population-based surveys such as the General Social Survey (GSS) on Victimization are able to provide indicators of self-reported victimization experiences and levels of reporting to police, there is no equivalent national survey instrument for children under the age of 15.
  8. Casual acquaintance is defined as a social relationship which is neither long-term nor close.
  9. Refers to women aged 18 and older.
  10. An infant refers to those under the age of one.
  11. Violent victimization includes sexual assault, physical assault and robbery. This also includes spousal violence but not incidents of criminal harassment.
  12. Estimates for Vancouver and Ottawa-Gatineau, the third and fourth largest CMAs, were not releasable, due to a high level of sampling error.
  13. The definition of Aboriginal women refers to those persons who self-reported their sex as female and who self-identified as belonging to at least one Aboriginal group, that is, North American Indian, Métis or Inuit.
  14. According to the Homicide Survey, Aboriginal identity is determined based on whether the victim was a member of at least one major Aboriginal group (i.e. North American Indian, Métis or Inuit).
  15. Includes incidents where Aboriginal identity is either unknown or is not collected or released by the investigating police service. The RCMP is one of the police services not collecting this information.
  16. Based on the 2006 Census.
  17. The rate of dating violence is underestimated. Underestimation is a result of the inflated size of population used in the calculation of dating violence rates. That is, the calculation of a dating violence rate uses the entire population of unmarried persons, regardless of their dating relationship status.
  18. The Homicide Survey captures information relating to a history or pattern of family violence (e.g. spousal assaults, child or parent battering) among homicide incidents that involve family members (any person who is related to the accused by blood, marriage or adoption).
  19. Percentages were calculated based on incidents where the history of family violence was known. Between 2001 and 2011, the history of family violence was unknown in 12% of all spousal homicides against women.
  20. Information is based on homicides where the details of the interactions between the accused and the victim were known. This represents 56% of intimate partner homicides between 2001 and 2011.
  21. Since 1999, the GSS on Victimization has collected detailed information on spousal violence. Questions are designed to capture the unique nature and dynamics of this form of violent victimization.
  22. Sexual assault level 1 refers to an assault committed in circumstances of a sexual nature such that the sexual integrity of the victim is violated. It involves minor injuries or no injuries to the victim. Sexual assault level 2 refers to sexual assault with a weapon, threats or causing bodily harm. Sexual assault level 3 refers to aggravated sexual assault that results in wounding, maiming, disfiguring or endangering the life of the victim.
  23. Based on data from the 2009 GSS. Refer to section on responses to violence against women for further details.
  24. Spousal victims were only asked whether they were a victim of unwanted sexual activity.
  25. The types of victimization in the General Social Survey on Victimization are based on Criminal Code definitions of criminal offences, such as three levels of sexual assault.
  26. These regional groupings were created to permit comparisons.
  27. Includes all criminal harassment offences (whether or not charges were ever laid) committed against the victim prior to the homicide that led to the victim's death.
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