Police-reported sexual offences against children and youth in Canada, 2012: highlights

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  • Approximately 14,000 children and youth (under the age of 18) were victims of a police-reported sexual offence in 2012, a rate of 205 victims for every 100,000 children and youth. This was similar to the rate of sexual offences against children and youth in 2009.
  • Children and youth accounted for over half (55%) of all victims of a police-reported sexual offence in 2012, while making up 20% of the population of Canada.
  • About three-quarters (72%) of all child and youth victims of sexual offences were victims of level 1 sexual assault. Levels 2 (with a weapon or causing bodily harm) and 3 (aggravated) sexual assault comprised about 1%, and the remaining 27% were victims of sexual offences that are specifically applicable to children and youth, of which sexual interference was the most frequent.
  • Similar to crime rates in general, rates of sexual offences against children and youth were highest in the territories, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Among census metropolitan areas, Saguenay (523 per 100,000 child and youth population), Kingston (350 per 100,000), and Moncton (312 per 100,000) recorded the highest rates of sexual offences against children and youth.
  • Girls were more frequently the victims of a sexual offence than boys. In 2012, four of every five (81%) child victims of a sexual offence were female.
  • The majority of persons accused of a sexual offence against a child or youth were known by the victim. The accused person was most commonly an acquaintance (44%) or a family member (38%). About one in ten (12%) sexual offences against children and youth were committed by a stranger.
  • Sexual offences against children and youth were more likely than any other type of offence against the person to involve a delay in coming to the attention of police. About one-quarter (26%) of all sexual offences against children or youth which came to the attention of police in 2012 occurred in a previous year.
  • Three in ten (30%) persons accused of a sexual offence against a child or youth were between the ages of 12 and 17, with the peak ages among all offenders for this type of offence occurring when the accused person was 13 (117 per 100,000) or 14 (115 per 100,000) years of age.
  • The vast majority (97%) of persons accused of a sexual offence against children or youth were male.
  • Between 2005 and 2012, 3% of all homicides against children and youth were motivated by sexual violence.
  • Three-quarters (74%) of completed adult and youth court cases involving sexual offences against children and youth resulted in a finding of guilt in 2011/2012. Of completed cases with a guilty finding, 81% of adults and 9% of youth were sentenced to custody.
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