Female offenders in Canada, 2017

by Laura Savage

Release date: January 10, 2019
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Highlights

  • In 2017, females accounted for one in four (25%) individuals accused in police-reported criminal incidents in Canada.
  • Between 2009 and 2017, the rate of females accused of a Criminal Code offence decreased 15%, from 1,534 to 1,311 accused females per 100,000 population. In comparison, a larger decrease (-22%) for male accused was noted over this period.
  • Rates of offending among females were highest among those aged 18 to 24 (2,803 accused per 100,000 population) and tended to decline with age—a pattern that is similar to that of male accused.
  • Overall rates of female offending were highest in the territories—Nunavut (26,009 females per 100,000 population), Northwest Territories (21,847) and Yukon (10,375)—followed by the provinces of Saskatchewan (4,763) and Manitoba (3,426).
  • When looking at all types of crime (excluding Criminal Code traffic offences), property crime accounted for the largest proportion (35%) of crime for which females were accused, while drug violations (7%) and other federal statutes (4%) accounted for the smallest.
  • Assault (levels 1, 2 and 3) made up the vast majority (70%) of violent crimes committed by females. Of this proportion, most (76%) were level 1 assault.
  • Homicides committed by females were more likely to involve a victim who was a family member than those committed by males (54%, versus 30%).
  • In 2017, the rate of Aboriginal females accused of homicide was 27 times higher than the rate among non-Aboriginal females (5.4 versus 0.2 accused persons per 100,000 population). In comparison, the rate of Aboriginal males accused of homicide was almost 12 times higher than their non-Aboriginal counterparts (23.1 versus 2.0 accused persons per 100,000 population).
  • Around one in five (21%) cases completed in adult criminal court in 2015/2016 involved a female accused. Adult females were less likely than their male counterparts to be found guilty by the courts for violent crimes (40% versus 52%).
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Previous research has shown that females account for a smaller proportion of offenders in Canada, and the rate at which females are accused of committing a crime is lower than the rate among males (Hotton Mahoney 2011; Kong and AuCoin 2008). Compared to the amount of research on male criminality, relatively little is known about the nature and extent of female offending (Liddell and Martinovic 2013).

To gain a better understanding of female offending in Canada, this Juristat article presents the most recent data from the Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey, the Homicide Survey, the General Social Survey (GSS) on Canadians’ Safety (Victimization) and the Integrated Criminal Courts Survey (ICCS).

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Age groups and definitions

For this Juristat article, "youth" are those aged 12 to 17 and "young adults" are those aged 18 to 24. Adults aged 25 and older are categorized into the following age groups: 25 to 34 years, 35 to 44 years, 45 to 54 years, 55 to 64 years and 65 to 89 years.Note  Rates are calculated on the basis of 100,000 population aged 12 to 89 years. Any rates referring specifically to youth are calculated on the basis of 100,000 population aged 12 to 17 years.

Accused: An accused person is someone who police services have identified in connection with a criminal incident based on evidence linking the accused to the crime.

Most serious violation: Individuals accused of crime are categorized by the most serious violation occurring in the police-reported incident in which they are accused. In incidents with multiple accused involving multiple violations, each individual in the incident will be coded with the most serious violation even if this was not the violation(s) that the person was accused of. It is therefore possible that the most serious violation is not the offence for which an individual was accused, but one committed by another accused in the incident. Moreover, in this type of incident, any charges against the accused may be for less serious offences in the incident.

Drug offences: Include offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act such as importation, exportation, trafficking, production and possession of drugs or narcotics. Examples include cannabis/marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other drugs such as crystal meth, PCP, LSD and ecstasy.

Violent offences: Involve the use or threatened use of violence against a person, including homicide, attempted murder, assault, sexual assault, and robbery. Robbery is considered a violent offence because, unlike other theft offences, it involves the use or threat of violence. See Table 2 for a list of selected offences in this category.

Property offences: Involves an unlawful act to gain property, but does not involve the use or threat of violence against the person. Includes offences such as break and enter, theft and mischief. See Table 2 for a list of selected offences in this category.

Other Criminal Code offences: Include crimes such as disturbing the peace and offences against the administration of justice, such as failure to comply with an order, failure to appear and breach of probation.

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Females account for one in four persons accused of police-reported crimes

In 2017, there were 942,777 persons aged 12 years and older accused in a police-reported criminal incident, with females representing one in four (25%) accused persons.Note  Property crime accounted for the largest proportion (35%) of crimes for which females were accused, while drug offences (7%) and other federal statutes (4%) accounted for the smallest. One-quarter (25%) of offences that females were accused of were violent. In contrast, the most common crimes for which males were accused were other Criminal Code offences (32%), and males were accused of violent crime slightly more often than females (28%).Note 

Rates of offending were higher among males than females for all three Criminal Code violation types (offences excluding drug offences and other federal statutes), with the greatest difference in rate being for other Criminal Code offences (1,432 versus 447 per 100,000 population, respectively) (Chart 1).

Chart 1 Persons accused of violating the Criminal Code, by sex of the accused and violation type, Canada, 2017

Data table for Chart 1 
Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Chart 1. The information is grouped by Violation type (appearing as row headers), Females and Males, calculated using rate per 100,000 population units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Violation type Females Males
rate per 100,000 population
Other Criminal Code violations 447 1,432
Property crime violations 515 1,260
Violent Criminal Code violations 366 1,274

Between 2009 and 2017, the rate of females accused of a Criminal Code offence decreased 15%, from 1,534 to 1,311 accused per 100,000 females aged 12 to 89, respectively (Chart 2).Note Note  This decline was less pronounced, however, than the decline in rate for males (-22%). As a result, over this period, the proportion of females accused of Criminal Code offences increased slightly from 24% to 25%.

Chart 2 Rates of accused for Criminal Code offences, by sex and year, Canada, 2009 to 2017

Data table for Chart 2 
Chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Chart 2. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Females, Males and Total, calculated using rate per 100,000 population units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Females Males Total
rate per 100,000 population
2009 1,534 5,064 3,279
2010 1,539 4,868 3,185
2011 1,482 4,698 3,072
2012 1,439 4,554 2,981
2013 1,333 4,209 2,757
2014 1,278 4,020 2,636
2015 1,286 3,993 2,627
2016 1,317 3,979 2,636
2017 1,311 3,930 2,609

The rate of violent crime among females declined 19% between 2009 and 2017, from 443 to 360 accused females per 100,000 population, respectively. The proportion of females accused of violent crime has remained relatively stable over this period (around 23%) (data not shown).

Rates of female accused of crime highest in the territories and prairies

In 2017, rates of female accused were highest in the territories—Nunavut (26,009 per 100,000 females), Northwest Territories (21,847) and Yukon (10,375)—followed by the provinces of Saskatchewan (4,763) and Manitoba (3,426). Rates of male accused were also highest in the territories and the prairie provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (see Appendix table).

Police-reported violent crime and property crime rates higher among younger women

Overall, females had a rate nearly four times lower than males when it came to being accused of a violent offence in 2017 (366 females versus 1,274 males per 100,000 population). Among accused persons overall, the rate of violent crime was highest among youth and then decreased with age—a finding that is consistent with previous research showing that rates of offending typically peak at age 16 for females and age 17 for males (Chart 3). This pattern was evident among females specifically, with rates of offending highest among youth (773 accused females per 100,000 population aged 12 to 17) (data not shown).

Chart 3 Rate of offending, by sex and age of the accused, Canada, 2017

Data table for Chart 3 
Chart 3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Chart 3. The information is grouped by Age (years) (appearing as row headers), Females and Males, calculated using rate per 100,000 population units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age (years) Females Males
rate per 100,000 population
12 818 1,866
13 1,565 3,253
14 2,443 5,388
15 3,079 6,919
16 3,156 7,914
17 3,015 8,018
18 2,903 7,404
19 3,011 7,302
20 2,845 7,026
21 2,854 7,352
22 2,669 7,169
23 2,624 7,231
24 2,758 7,274
25 2,810 7,640
26 2,794 7,309
27 2,771 7,543
28 2,712 7,444
29 2,611 7,284
30 2,589 7,228
31 2,362 6,974
32 2,323 6,895
33 2,336 6,793
34 2,173 6,601
35 2,011 6,202
36 2,047 5,960
37 1,839 5,608
38 1,676 5,385
39 1,644 5,220
40 1,581 4,839
41 1,417 4,596
42 1,368 4,345
43 1,313 4,213
44 1,237 4,147
45 1,189 4,152
46 1,096 3,727
47 1,130 3,757
48 1,027 3,426
49 943 3,329
50 900 2,989
51 786 2,766
52 751 2,612
53 682 2,311
54 633 2,157
55 537 2,028
56 486 1,752
57 431 1,673
58 385 1,477
59 328 1,313
60 291 1,115
61 272 1,003
62 231 952
63 211 871
64 201 771
65 202 644
66 164 596
67 168 553
68 141 556
69 134 639
70 122 428
71 113 453
72 119 419
73 111 421
74 110 387
75 98 360
76 98 359
77 96 314
78 102 288
79 89 268
80 91 297
81 87 281
82 77 252
83 64 278
84 64 240
85 54 181
86 53 270
87 34 213
88 42 255
89 67 217

In addition to younger women having higher rates than adult women, there were different patterns noted for some offences. For example, of all females accused of sexual assault level 1, 31% were youth. Similarly, female youth represented 59% of all females accused of non-consensual distribution of intimate images. Likewise, when looking at youth accused, female accused accounted for a greater proportion of accused persons than they did among adults. For example, of all youth accused of indecent or harassing communications, 41% were female (compared to 36% of adult accused).

Among females accused of property crime, the rate of offending was highest for youth aged 12 to 17 (1,096 accused per 100,000 youth) and declined as offenders’ age increased (Table 1). This pattern was found among both female and male accused. Regardless of age group, rates of property crime among females were less than half that of males (Table 1).

While the most common property offence for females across all age groups was shoplifting $5,000 and under (191 accused per 100,000 females), female youth were over-represented as accused in specific property Criminal Code offences (Table 2). In particular, 40% of females accused of arson and 20% of females accused of motor vehicle theft were youth.

Assault accounts for the majority of violent crime

Of the 210,946 females aged 12 and older accused of committing a Criminal Code offence in 2017, over one in four (28%) were accused of a violent Criminal Code offence. Overall, for both female and male accused persons, assault (levels 1, 2 and 3) made up the majority of violent crime. In 2017, 19% of all persons accused of a Criminal Code violationNote —and 60% of all persons accused of a violent violation specifically—were related to assault (levels 1, 2 and 3). This proportion was slightly higher among female accused, with almost three-quarters (70%) of violent crime involving a female accused being related to assault, most of which were level 1 (Table 2).

Rates for male accused were notably higher for some offences like sexual assault and sexual violations against children,Note  where males accounted for over 95% of accused for these offences. In contrast, females were accused of sexual assault (levels 1, 2 and 3) far less frequently than males, as they accounted for 3% of persons accused of this violation in 2017 (Table 2). However, the difference was not as great for other offences. For example, female accused accounted for over one-third (37%) of indecent or harassing communications violations and over one-quarter (27%) of level 1 assault violations. As was the case overall, the proportion of females accused of assault decreased as the level of severity increased (Table 2).

Females accused of violent crime most often victimized somebody they knew

Most females accused of violent crime knew their victim. In 2017, in cases where there was a single victim and a single accused,Note  females most often victimized an intimate partner (36%)Note  or a casual acquaintanceNote  (22%). For over one in ten (12%) female accused, the victim was a stranger—a proportion similar to male accused (15%). Males also most commonly victimized an intimate partner (41%) or a casual acquaintance (19%) (data not shown).Note 

Like all violence, family-related violence has adverse long- and short-term effects for the victim that can seriously increase the risk of mental illness, substance use, social isolation and further victimization—however, violence in the context of a familial relationship can have even more adverse effects for the victim (Burczycka and Conroy 2018; Taylor-Butts 2015).Note  One-third (33%) of female violent crime was family violence-related—a similar proportion to their male counterparts (31%).

Rate of females accused of violent crime highest in the territories, lowest in Prince Edward Island

Across the provinces and territories, trends in rates of female accused of violent crime tended to follow patterns of crime in general, in that rates in the territories were highest. In 2017, among the provinces specifically, the rate of female accused was highest in Manitoba (1,004 per 100,000 population) and lowest in Prince Edward Island (246) (data not shown).Note 

The large majority (77%) of accused persons identified by police in violent crimes were males. However, the proportion of females accused of violent crime was slightly higher in Yukon (33% of all accused), the Northwest Territories (29%) and Manitoba (29%) than elsewhere in Canada (23%).

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Police-reported crime among female youth

Research shows that the majority of offenders commit their first crime as a youth (Allen and Superle 2016; Farrington et al. 2012). Marked by a period of transition from childhood into adulthood, adolescence is a distinct period of development and offending tends to peak during this stage of life (Smith 2011).

Police-reported data for Criminal Code and drug violations from the 2017 Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey show that the rate of offending among female youth was 2,578 accused per 100,000 female youth (Text box 2 chart). Female youth were less likely than male youth to be accused of committing a violation in 2017, with rates at least half of their male counterparts for each violation type (Chart 3).

Text box 2 Chart Rate of youth offending, by violation type and sex of accused, Canada, 2017

Data table for Text box 2 Chart 
Text box 2 chart
Table summary
This table displays the results of Text box 2 chart. The information is grouped by Violation type (appearing as row headers), Females, Males and Total, calculated using rate per 100,000 population units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Violation type Females Males Total
rate per 100,000 population
Violent Criminal Code violations 773 1,979 1,392
Property crime violations 1,096 2,469 1,801
Other Criminal Code violations 489 1,157 832
Drug violations 221 636 434
Total 2,578 6,240 4,460

Police-reported data show that the overall rate of females accused of property crimes in 2017 was highest among youth aged 12 to 17, with a rate of 1,096 per 100,000 females (Table 1). This was slightly higher than the rate for females aged 18 to 24 (1,043 per 100,000) and almost 18 times higher than the rate for females aged 65 to 89 (61 per 100,000). Property crime was also highest among male youth aged 12 to 17 (2,469 accused per 100,000 males)—a rate that was 22 times higher than their counterparts aged 65 to 89 (112) (Table 1).

Female youth accused of committing a property crime were most commonly accused of the following crimes: shoplifting $5,000 and under (48%), mischief (21%) and theft $5,000 and under (11%) (data not shown).

Of all females, youth had the highest rate of violent offending (773 accused per 100,000 female youth). Level 1 assault (53%), uttering threats (15%) and level 2 assault (11%) were the violent offences that female youth were most frequently accused of committing.

There were 4,402 completed criminal charges for violent crime in 2015/2016 involving a female youth. With consideration given to lower levels of maturity, youth in Canada who are accused of, and subsequently charged with, committing a criminal offence are tried under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, with rare exceptions. Four in ten (40%) charges resulted in a guilty verdict—a proportion slightly lower than male youth (44%). Over half (57%) of charges involving a female youth were stayed or withdrawn, compared to 51% for male youth.Note  The remaining charges involving a female youth were acquitted or resulted in the accused being found not criminally responsible (Statistics Canada 2017a).

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The rate of homicide involving a female accused relatively stable since 2007

While generally accounting for a small proportion of police-reported crime in Canada, homicide is considered to be the most serious criminal offence. Between 2007 and 2017, there were 6,089 people accused of homicide, with the vast majority (89%) being male—a finding that has remained stable since this information was first collected in 1961 (David 2017).

According to the Homicide Survey, there were 679 females accused of homicide during this period, marking an average of 62 per year—compared with an average of 492 males per year—and corresponding to a rate of 0.4 accused per 100,000 females (Table 3).

Between 2007 and 2017, Manitoba recorded 677 homicides overall, translating into an average annual rate of 5.8 homicides per 100,000 population—the highest provincial rate. With regard to females specifically, there were 104 females accused of homicide in Manitoba over this period, translating into an average annual rate of 1.8 accused females per 100,000 population.Note  Females accounted for 15% of all persons accused of homicide in Manitoba during this period—a higher proportion than what was seen nationally (11%) (Table 4).

Compared to males, females accused of homicide are more likely to be young adults

Overall, rates for individuals accused of homicide were highest among those aged 18 to 24 (5.4 accused persons per 100,000 population)—driven mostly by males in this cohort. In contrast, among females, accused rates for homicide were similar across the 12 to 17, 18 to 24, 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 age groups (Table 5).

Compared to their male counterparts, females aged 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 accounted for a larger proportion of females accused of homicide between 2007 and 2017. Over one-half (56%) of females accused of homicide were in these age groups (Table 5).

For almost one-third of females accused of homicide, the victim was a spouse or dating partner

Overall, the vast majority (84%) of accused persons knew their victim. This was the case for 93% of homicides reported between 2007 and 2017 where the accused was female. In particular, three in ten (30%) homicides perpetrated by a female accused involved a victim who was either her spouse or dating partner—a notably higher proportion than their male counterparts (18%) (Table 6).Note 

Family homicides were also far more common among female accused compared to males, with 54% involving her spouse, parent, child or other family member.Note  This was the case for 30% of homicides involving a male accused (Table 6).

Rate of Aboriginal females accused of homicide 27 times higher than the rate for non-Aboriginal females

In general, Aboriginal people tend to be over-represented as offenders in the criminal justice system and as victims of crime—a finding that can be tied to intergenerational trauma, colonization, racism and discrimination, as well as lack of funding and culturally appropriate alternatives to imprisonment (Friedland 2009; Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 2015). Previous research suggests that the higher victimization rates among Aboriginal people were related to the presence of risk factors such as homelessness, drug use, experiencing childhood maltreatment or having fair or poor mental health (Boyce 2015).

Between 2007 and 2017, 49% of the females accused of homicide were identified as Aboriginal—a proportion almost double that of their male Aboriginal counterparts (28%). In 2017 specifically, the rate of Aboriginal females accused of homicide was 27 times higher than the rate of non-Aboriginal females (5.4 per 100,000 Aboriginal females, versus 0.2 per 100,000 non-Aboriginal people).Note  Aboriginal males also had a higher rate of being accused of homicide than their non-Aboriginal counterparts (23.1 per 100,000 Aboriginal people versus 2.0 per 100,000 non-Aboriginal people) (data not shown).

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Measuring female offending using self-reported victimization data

Collecting information on self-reported experiences of victimization is valuable for exploring the nature and extent of female offending given that not all crimes are brought to the attention of the police (Perreault 2015). Used as a complement to police-reported statistics, the General Social Survey (GSS) on Canadians’ Safety (Victimization) asks Canadians aged 15 and older about experiences of victimization for eight offence types which are categorized into three distinct groups: violent victimization, household victimization and theft of personal property. Results from 2014—the most recent data available—show that approximately one in five (19%) Canadians aged 15 and older had been a victim of at least one type of crime in the 12 months preceding the survey.

The GSS on Victimization also asks respondents about characteristics of any incidents they experienced, including information on the number of offenders and the perceived sex and age of the offender(s). According to the 2014 GSS on Victimization, just over one in six (15%) victims of violence in incidents involving a single offender identified the offender as female. Furthermore, the female perpetrator was perceived to be between the ages of 25 and 34 in almost three in ten (28%) violent incidents. It has been shown that only 5%E of sexual assaults are reported to the police. Since the GSS on Victimization includes sexual assaults not reported to the police—and since sexual assaults are almost exclusively perpetrated by males—this increases the proportion of males among offenders identified in the self-reported data. On the other hand, these numbers exclude some crimes more commonly perpetrated by females, such as criminal harassment or indecent or harassing communications.

While both the GSS on Victimization and the Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey are used to measure crime, methodological and conceptual differences exist between the two surveys. As such, direct comparisons should not be made between the surveys (see Wallace et al. 2009 for more information).

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One in five completed adult criminal court cases involved a female accused

Previous research has shown that females are less likely than males to be charged with a criminal offence and less likely to go to court when they are charged (Hotton Mahoney et al. 2017; Rotenberg 2017).

The Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) collects information on Canadian criminal court cases in both youth courts and adult criminal courts, including information on types of offences and sentencing outcomes. According to the ICCS, approximately one in five (21%) cases completed in adult criminal court in 2015/2016 involved a female accused.Note  The proportion of females was similar for both youth and adult offenders, and the proportion of charges completed in youth court involving a female youth was similar to that observed in adult criminal courts (19%).Note 

Less than half of court cases involving a female accused resulted in a guilty finding

In 2015/2016, there were 74,424 completed adult criminal court cases related to violent crimes, with 13,316 of these (18%) involving a female (Table 7).Note  Criminal court cases for violent crimes involving an adult female accused were less likely than those with male accused to result in guilty decisions (40% versus 52%).

Regardless of the type of violent offence, cases involving an adult male accused tended to result in a guilty decision more often than for female accused, with the exception of sexual assault cases, where the proportions convicted were similar among females and males (Table 7).Note  Larger differences were observed for criminal harassment cases, where about one-quarter (26%) of cases involving a female were found guilty, compared with half (50%) for males. (Table 7).

Violent crimes more likely to end in a guilty decision for males, stayed or withdrawn for females

In 2015/2016, while criminal court cases involving a male accused most commonly ended with findings of guilt (52%), cases with female accused were most commonly stayed or withdrawn (51%)Note  (Chart 4).

Chart 4 Decision type for crimes against the person, by sex, Canada, 2015/2016

Data table for Chart 4 
Chart 4
Table summary
This table displays the results of Chart 4. The information is grouped by Type of decision (appearing as row headers), Females and Males, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Type of decision Females Males
percent
GuiltyChart 4 Note 1 40 52
Acquitted 7 8
Stayed or withdrawn 51 38
Other decisionsChart 4 Note 2 2 2

Research suggests that cases involving a female accused are less likely to result in multiple charges and that females are more likely to be first-time offenders, giving the courts the opportunity to divert these females out of the criminal justice system (Kong and AuCoin 2008).

Females less likely than males to be sentenced to custody for violent crimes

In 2015/2016, adult female offenders who received a guilty decision for violent crimes were almost half as likely as their male counterparts to receive a custodial sentence (22% versus 39%) (Chart 5). In relation to males, females were slightly more likely to receive a monetary fine (12% versus 10%) or another type of sentence (e.g., an absolute or conditional discharge, a suspended sentence or a community service order) (89%, versus 84% for males) (Chart 5).

Chart 5 Type of sentence, crimes against the person, by sex, Canada, 2015/2016

Data table for Chart 5 
Chart 5
Table summary
This table displays the results of Chart 5. The information is grouped by Type of sentence (appearing as row headers), Females and Males, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Type of sentence Females Males
percent
Custody 22 39
Conditional sentence 5 5
Probation 74 76
Fine 12 10
Restitution 1 1
Other sentencesChart 5 Note 1 89 84

The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) provides for more age-appropriate responses to youth crime, acknowledging that extrajudicial measures which do not involve the formal court system "are often the most appropriate and effective way to address youth crime [and] allow for effective and timely interventions focused on correcting offending behaviour" (YCJA 2003). The YCJA aims to divert youth offenders involved in less serious types of crime with extrajudicial measures, and, as a result, reduce "the over-reliance on incarceration for non-violent young persons." At the same time, the YCJA reserves the most serious intervention for the most serious crime (YCJA 2003).

In accordance with YCJA principles, a smaller proportion of youth than adults were sentenced to custody, and the gap between female and male youth was smaller than it was among adults (12% of female youth and 20% of male youth). Instead, approximately two-thirds (67%) of youth who received a guilty decision were sentenced to probation—this proportion was slightly higher for males (68%) than females (62%) (Statistics Canada 2017b).

Summary

This Juristat article uses data from multiple surveys to provide information on female offending in Canada. Results from the 2017 Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey show that females offend at a rate much lower than males, regardless of whether they are a youth or an adult. In 2017, females accounted for 25% of all persons accused of a criminal offence and 23% of all accused of a violent violation. Between 2009 and 2017, the rate of females accused of violent crime has decreased 19%, from 443 to 360 females per 100,000 population, respectively. Similar to males, most violent crimes involving a female were assault (levels 1, 2 and 3—70%), with most (76%) being level 1 assault, and this was also one of the violent crimes for which the proportion of female offenders was highest (27% of accused), just behind indecent or harassing communications (37% of accused being females).

Between 2007 and 2017, there were 679 females accused of homicide. In 2017 specifically, there were 70—one fewer than in 2016. However, the overall rate of females accused of homicide has remained consistent year-over-year since 2007. Between 2007 and 2017, Manitoba recorded the highest provincial rate of females accused of homicide (1.8 accused per 100,000 females).

In 2015/2016, criminal court cases involving adult females were less likely than those involving adult males to receive a guilty verdict for crimes against the person (40% versus 52%). Of cases with a guilty verdict, those involving females were about half as likely as those involving males to receive a custodial sentence (22% versus 39%). This disparity was similar among youth cases that resulted in a conviction (12% for females versus 20% for males).

Detailed data tables

Table 1 Persons accused of property offences, by age group and sex of accused, Canada, 2017

Table 2 Persons accused of police-reported crime for selected offences, by sex of the accused, Canada, 2017

Table 3 Persons accused of homicide, by sex of accused and year, Canada, 2007 to 2017

Table 4 Persons accused of homicide, by province and territory and sex of accused, Canada, 2007 to 2017

Table 5 Persons accused of homicide, by age group and sex of accused, Canada, 2007 to 2017

Table 6 Homicides by closest accused-victim relationship and sex of closest accused, Canada, 2007 to 2017

Table 7 Criminal Code offences involving an adult resulting in a guilty verdict, Canada, 2015/2016

Appendix table Persons accused of police-reported crime, by province and territory and sex, Canada, 2017

Survey description

This report uses data from multiple surveys: the 2017 Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, the 2017 Homicide Survey, the 2014 General Social Survey on Canadians’ Safety (Victimization) and the 2015 Integrated Criminal Courts Survey.

Uniform Crime Reporting Survey

The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey was developed in 1962 with the cooperation and assistance of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. UCR Survey data reflects reported crime that has been substantiated through police investigation from all separate federal, provincial and municipal police services in Canada. Information on all criminal incidents that are reported to police in Canada is collected by Statistics Canada through the annual UCR Survey. The UCR Survey collects detailed information on many aspects of crime, including the number of criminal incidents, the clearance status of those incidents, as well as information about the accused when an accused person has been identified. For the purpose of this analysis, Criminal Code traffic violations and other federal statute violations are excluded.

Homicide Survey

The Homicide Survey collects police-reported data on the characteristics of all homicide incidents, victims and accused persons in Canada.

Integrated Criminal Courts Survey

The Integrated Criminal Courts Survey (ICCS) is administered by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics at Statistics Canada in collaboration with provincial and territorial government departments responsible for criminal courts in Canada. The survey collects statistical information on adult and youth court cases involving Criminal Code and other federal statute charges. The primary unit of analysis is a case. A case is defined as one or more charges against an accused person or company that were processed by the courts at the same time and received a final decision. A case combines all charges against the same person having one or more key overlapping dates (date of offence, date of initiation, date of first appearance, date of decision, or date of sentencing) into a single case.

General Social Survey on Canadians’ Safety (Victimization)

In 2014, Statistics Canada conducted the victimization cycle of the General Social Survey (GSS) for the sixth time. Previous cycles were conducted in 1988, 1993, 1999, 2004 and 2009. The purpose of the survey is to provide data on Canadians’ personal experiences with eight offences, examine the risk factors associated with victimization, examine rates of reporting to the police, assess the nature and extent of spousal violence, measure fear of crime, and examine public perceptions of crime and the criminal justice system. This report is based on Cycle 28 of the GSS on Victimization conducted in 2014. The target population was persons aged 15 and over living in the Canadian provinces and territories, except for people living full-time in institutions. Once a household was selected and contacted by phone, an individual 15 years or older was randomly selected to respond to the survey.

References

Allen, M. and T. Superle. 2016. "Youth crime in Canada, 2014." Juristat. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 85-002-X.

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