Criminal victimization in Canada, 2014: highlights

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  • Just under one-fifth of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported being the victim of one of the eight offences measured by the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS) on Victimization, down from just over a quarter in 2004.
  • Victimization rates for all crimes measured by the 2014 GSS were lower than those reported 10 years earlier, with the exception of sexual assault, which remained stable. From 2004, the violent victimization rate fell by 28%, while the household victimization rate decreased by 42% and the rate of theft of personal property declined by 21%.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec recorded the lowest rates of violent victimization among the provinces, while Manitoba posted the highest rate in 2014.
  • All of the Atlantic provinces and Ontario reported household victimization rates below the average for the 10 provinces, while the opposite was observed in each of the Prairie provinces and British Columbia.
  • Among the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) with releasable estimates, the CMA of Calgary recorded the lowest violent victimization rate while the CMAs of Halifax and Winnipeg posted the highest.
  • Household victimization rates were lowest in the Québec CMA, while most western CMAs recorded rates that were higher than the national average.
  • Unlike previous GSS cycles on victimization that found similar violent victimization rates among males and females, women posted a higher rate than men in 2014. This was mainly due to the relative stability of the sexual assault victimization rate—of which the majority of victims are women—while the victimization rate of other violent crimes declined.
  • Being young was the main contributing factor to the risk of violent victimization. The rate of violent victimization was highest among persons aged 20 to 24 years and then decreased gradually with age.
  • Mental health was the second most influential factor associated with the risk of violent victimization in 2014. About 1 in 10 Canadians reported a mental health-related disability, a developmental or learning disability, or self-assessed their mental health as poor or fair. These individuals combined reported a rate of violent victimization more than four times that of people who self-assessed their mental health as excellent or very good.
  • Just under one-third of Canadians reported experiencing some form of abuse at the hands of an adult before the age of 15. People who experienced child maltreatment recorded violent victimization rates that were more than double those of people who did not experience child maltreatment.
  • According to the GSS, in 2014 just over one-quarter of violent incidents involved a weapon and just under one in five violent incidents resulted in injury to the victim. In about half of violent incidents (excluding spousal violence) the victim knew the offender.
  • About one out of seven victims of violent crime reported having suffered symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress as a result of their victimization.
  • Some of the main risk factors for experiencing household victimization are living in a CMA, living in a single (detached) house, living in a dwelling for only a short time, living in a neighbourhood with low social cohesion, or renting the place that you live in.
  • According to the GSS, just under one-third (31%) of criminal incidents were brought to the attention of the police in 2014, a proportion slightly lower than 10 years earlier, when 34% of incidents were reported. The proportions of incidents reported to the police ranged from 50% for break-ins to as little as 5% for sexual assaults.
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