Victims of police-reported violent crime in Canada: National, provincial and territorial fact sheets, 2016

by Mary Allen and Kylie McCarthy

Release date: May 30, 2018

Introduction

Across Canada, there are a variety of government-funded agencies whose mandate is to provide assistance to victims of crime. Canada’s provinces and territories are individually responsible for the provision of victim services for their respective jurisdictions. The federal, provincial and territorial governments have all endorsed a common set of objectives, which guide the development of policies, programs and legislation related to victims of crime in Canada. These objectives are articulated in the Canadian Statement of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime (2003). This statement lays out a number of principles to promote the fair treatment of victims within the justice system. In 2015, many of these principles were incorporated into the federal Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (CVBR), which sets out the rights of victims to information, to protection, to participation, and to seek restitution. In addition, provinces and territories provide various other forms of assistance to victims such as referrals to counselling and housing assistance, and some offer compensation programs. All provinces have their own specific victims of crime legislation.

In each province and territory, different service delivery models are employed by victim service providers in order to meet the differing needs of victims within their jurisdiction. There is a wide variety of victim services offered to crime victims in order to address their specific needs. Services that are offered to victims of crime include counselling and crisis services, protection services, as well as court preparation and accompaniment and other assistance with the criminal justice system, including help with the preparation and filing of Victim Impact Statements. These services are provided by a variety of organizations, including police, government, and community-based organizations.

Although their data are not collected as part of the survey, the federal government provides a number of services to victims. Through the Federal Victims Strategy, under the lead of the Policy Centre for Victim Issues, Justice Canada provides funding to provincial and territorial victim services as well as victims attending parole board hearings and Canadians victimized abroad. Moreover, Public Safety’s National Office for Victims of Crime, Correctional Services Canada and the Parole Board of Canada, provide services to victims of federal offenders. The Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime also assists victims in their interaction with federal departments and agencies.

In an effort to identify data opportunities that could be used to measure changes in the delivery of services and access to victim services as a result of the implementation of the CVBR, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) at Statistics Canada has been working with representatives of the provincial and territorial victims services directorates.

As part of this work, CCJS has developed the new Canadian Victim Services Indicators (CVSI) survey, a pilot survey of all provincial and territorial victim services directorates. The survey collects aggregate statistics from provincial and territorial victim services directorates to provide information on the characteristics of victims accessing services, the types of services utilized, and case load demands in order to better develop programs and services for victims of crime.

This Juristat presents fact sheets for each province and territory. These fact sheets focus on statistics from the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR) on the number of victims of violent crime according to police-reported data, the types of crime experienced, as well as victim characteristics for each province and territory. Table A, presented here, provides the total number of victims of violent crime and traffic violations causing death or bodily harm (by age and sex) reported by police in each of the provinces and territories. Each fact sheet of the report then provides more in-depth highlights of the characteristics of these victims and the offences against them.

In addition, the fact sheets present selected indicators on the provision of victim services in each jurisdiction. This information was collected directly from provincial and territorial victim services directorates through the new CVSI survey.

Information on victims of violent crime from the UCR Survey is provided by police services covering 99% of the population of Canada and is based on standard concepts and Criminal Code definitions to allow comparison between jurisdictions. Information from the CVSI survey, however, comes from various sources and does not support comparisons between jurisdictions. Because of differences in the definition and methods of counting victims, the counts of victims accessing services should not be compared by jurisdiction. Moreover, counts from the CVSI survey should also not be compared to the count of police-reported victims from the UCR (see the Important differences in victim counts text box).

The development of the CVSI, as well as the production of this analytical report, was supported by funding from the Department of Justice Canada's Policy Centre for Victims Issues (PCVI).

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Important differences in victim counts

This Juristat presents information from both the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR) and the Canadian Victim Services Indicators (CVSI) survey. It is important to be aware that these two surveys count victims in notably different ways and as a result should not be compared to each other. Additionally, the victim counts provided to the CVSI for each province and territory should not be compared to victim counts for other provinces and territories.

The UCR provides a count of victims in police-reported incidents; victim counts are only for violent incidents and Criminal Code traffic violations causing death or bodily harm, including physical or sexual assault, and a victim involved in multiple incidents would be counted multiple times. For the CVSI, which measures the number of victims assisted by victim services programs, there are two notable situations which can affect the counts of victims served. In some jurisdictions, particularly those with system-based victim services, victims of multiple domestic violence incidents by the same offender may only be counted once as a single file is maintained on them over time. The second situation occurs in jurisdictions where victim services are provided by a variety of police-based, court-based and community-based agencies which all provide data to the victim services directorate. In this situation, a victim who has multiple points of contact with these agencies (such as with a sexual assault centre, police, and the courts) may be counted multiple times. Information for each jurisdiction on the coverage of the survey is provided within each fact sheet.

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Table A
Victims of police-reported violent crime and traffic violations causing death or bodily harm, by sex and age group of victim, and by province and territory, 2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Victims of police-reported violent crime and traffic violations causing death or bodily harm. The information is grouped by Age group (years) (appearing as row headers), Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec, calculated using number and rate units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group (years) Newfoundland and Labrador Prince Edward Island Nova Scotia New Brunswick Quebec
number rate number rate number rate number rate number rate
Female victimsTable A.1 Note 1 2,821 1,087 573 752 4,618 954 4,352 1,136 38,979 936
Children under age 12 111 400 20 217 224 435 170 397 2,152 420
Youth aged 12 to 17 400 2,628 85 1,798 656 2,351 568 2,517 5,096 2,203
Adults aged 18 to 24 526 2,710 135 2,102 1,044 2,555 852 2,867 7,436 2,126
Adults aged 25 and older 1,771 909 333 606 2,688 752 2,731 965 23,807 788
Male victimsTable A.1 Note 1 2,638 1,046 495 683 3,983 856 3,636 972 37,891 920
Children under age 12 131 448 23 246 181 329 183 410 2,173 406
Youth aged 12 to 17 320 2,055 52 1,028 442 1,505 405 1,660 3,981 1,636
Adults aged 18 to 24 401 1,961 117 1,679 742 1,745 608 1,858 6,060 1,702
Adults aged 25 and older 1,780 958 303 597 2,608 775 2,416 894 24,571 829
Total victimsTable A.1 Note 2 5,462 1,067 1,071 720 8,654 911 8,030 1,061 76,871 928
Table A continued
Age group (years) Ontario Manitoba Saskatchewan Alberta British Columbia
number rate number rate number rate number rate number rate
Female victimsTable A.2 Note 1 52,531 741 13,139 2,028 11,676 2,073 24,754 1,179 21,137 883
Children under age 12 2,308 268 573 602 575 662 944 299 640 240
Youth aged 12 to 17 6,817 1,529 1,850 3,981 1,596 4,037 2,635 1,909 2,132 1,493
Adults aged 18 to 24 10,823 1,653 3,104 5,002 2,691 5,363 4,984 2,644 3,825 1,793
Adults aged 25 and older 32,061 636 7,609 1,746 6,810 1,795 16,092 1,117 14,511 833
Male victimsTable A.2 Note 1 48,501 708 10,360 1,613 9,132 1,594 22,441 1,037 21,937 931
Children under age 12 2,396 265 456 460 564 622 860 259 572 201
Youth aged 12 to 17 6,034 1,279 1,115 2,254 1,116 2,637 2,071 1,421 1,690 1,118
Adults aged 18 to 24 8,735 1,263 2,039 3,084 1,751 3,127 3,877 1,921 3,688 1,590
Adults aged 25 and older 30,523 643 6,746 1,590 5,695 1,495 15,478 1,048 15,961 952
Total victimsTable A.2 Note 2 101,260 727 23,630 1,832 20,904 1,840 47,797 1,121 43,091 907
Table A continued
Age group (years) Yukon Northwest Territories Nunavut Canada
number rate number rate number rate number rate
Female victimsTable A.3 Note 1 727 3,942 1,800 8,247 1,701 9,496 178,808 981
Children under age 12 19 742 27 686 89 1,900 7,852 344
Youth aged 12 to 17 80 7,073 177 11,324 216 11,720 22,308 1,993
Adults aged 18 to 24 134 8,302 378 16,031 416 18,849 36,348 2,242
Adults aged 25 and older 494 3,778 1,217 8,745 980 10,684 111,104 855
Male victimsTable A.3 Note 1 580 3,045 1,246 5,503 956 4,987 163,796 914
Children under age 12 21 790 32 760 69 1,447 7,661 320
Youth aged 12 to 17 49 3,834 66 4,493 100 5,133 17,441 1,475
Adults aged 18 to 24 75 4,318 202 8,459 149 6,384 28,444 1,661
Adults aged 25 and older 434 3,251 946 6,506 638 6,311 108,099 862
Total victimsTable A.3 Note 2 1,327 3,539 3,066 6,895 2,707 7,300 343,870 951

Data source

Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey

The Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR) collects detailed information on criminal incidents that have come to the attention of, and have been substantiated by Canadian police services. Information includes characteristics pertaining to incidents (weapon, location), victims (age, sex, accused-victim relationship) and accused persons (age, sex). In 2016, data from police services covered 99% of the population of Canada. The count for a particular year represents incidents reported in that year, regardless of when the incident actually occurred.

The UCR collects information on police-reported crime by incident. For police-reported incidents that involve violations against the person (violent crime) or Criminal Code traffic violations involving death or bodily harm, a victim record is collected for each victim involved in the incident. Victim information is not collected for property crimes. If an individual is a victim in multiple incidents in the same reference year, that individual will be counted as one victim for each separate incident. Information on the type of violation is determined by the most serious violation against the victim in each incident.

Definitions

Homicide: includes first and second degree murder, manslaughter and infanticide. Deaths caused by criminal negligence, suicide, accidental or justifiable homicides are not included in this classification.

Attempted murder: attempt by any means, including conspiracy, to commit murder.

Sexual assault: encompasses a wide range of criminal acts in the Criminal Code of Canada. Such conduct ranges from unwanted sexual touching to sexual violence resulting in serious physical injury or disfigurement to the victim.

Sexual violations against children: include Criminal Code violations that specifically concern offences involving child and youth victims. These include sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual exploitation, making sexually explicit material available to children for the purpose of facilitating sexual offences against children/youth, and luring a child via a computer/agreement or arrangement, parent or guardian procuring sexual activity, householder permitting prohibited sexual activity of a minor, agreeing or arranging a sexual offence against a child, and bestiality in the presence of a child. Excludes incidents of sexual assault levels 1, 2 and 3 against children and youth which are counted within those three violation categories. Other sexual offences not involving assault or sexual violations against children are included with “other violent offences”.

Assault (physical): refers to three levels of physical assaults which include the following categories:

Criminal harassment: is defined as repeatedly following another person from place to place or repeatedly attempting to contact the person against their wishes causing that person to reasonably fear for their personal safety or the safety of anyone known to them.

Canadian Victim Services Indicators

The Canadian Victim Services Indicators (CVSI) project is funded by the Department of Justice Canada’s Policy Centre for Victim Issues. It is part of an ongoing project to identify data opportunities that can be used to measure the impact of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights on the justice system. The CVSI was developed in consultation with federal, provincial and territorial ministries responsible for justice and victim services. The purpose of the CVSI is to collect information on the characteristics of victims accessing services, the types of services utilized, and caseload demands in order to better develop programs and services for victims of violence.

The CVSI collects data from victim services directorates for the 13 provincial and territorial governments in Canada. The CVSI is an aggregate survey, meaning that there is no information on individual cases, and data are collected and reported for pre-defined categories.

The nature of the information available to and provided by the victim service directorates differs by jurisdiction. Because of notable differences in the types of victims for which information is available and in how victims are counted, the victim counts provided to the CVSI for each province and territory should not be compared to victim counts for other provinces and territories. Moreover, these counts should not be compared to the count of victims from the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey where information on victims is only for police-reported violent crime, and where victims are counted more than once if involved in multiple incidents.

For the CVSI, there are two notable situations which can affect the counts of victims served. In some jurisdictions, particularly those with system-based victim services, victims of multiple domestic violence incidents by the same offender may only be counted once as a single file is maintained on them over time. The second situation occurs in jurisdictions where victim services are provided by a variety of police-based, court-based and community-based agencies which all provide data to the victim services directorate, a victim who has multiple points of contact with these agencies (such as with a sexual assault centre, police, and the courts) may be counted multiple times. Information for each jurisdiction on the coverage of the survey is provided within each fact sheet.

Data on victims served represent new referrals in calendar year 2016. For some jurisdictions, information is for fiscal year as noted in the specific fact sheet.

Because of differences in methodologies and survey coverage, information from the CVSI cannot be compared to information from the previous Victim Services Survey (VSS) (most recent reference year 2011/2012).

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