Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics Profile Series

    Criminal Victimization and Health: A Profile of Victimization Among Persons with Activity Limitations or Other Health Problems, 2004


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    Persons with activity limitations have higher rates of violent victimization

    The UN's Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes that there is an increased risk of criminal victimization among persons with disabilities. Many studies have also concluded the same (Petersilia, 2009; OVC, 2009, 2002; Dube, 2007; Cantos, 2006; Teplin et al., 2005; Health Canada, 2004; Reid, 2004; Sorensen, 2002; Rioux et al., 1997; Statistics Canada, 2001). [Full text]

    Factors increasing the risk of victimization among persons with activity limitations

    The research identifies a number of factors that contribute to a higher risk of criminal victimization among persons with disabilities. Those with disabilities may have a reduced ability to defend themselves and greater vulnerability and dependence on others, which can make them easier targets for potential perpetrators (Baylor College of Medicine, 2009; Dube, 2007; Cohen et al., 2006; Reid, 2004; Health Canada, 2004; Nosek et al., 2001; Marley and Buila, 2001; Pain, 1997). [Full text]

    Characteristics of incidents and perpetrators

    It is difficult to assess to what extent these higher victimization rates can be explained by the vulnerability associated with those disabilities. Findings from the survey did however show some differences between victims who were disabled and those who were not. [Full text]

    Persons with activity limitations less satisfied with police response

    The literature not only points to several factors that might increase the vulnerability of disabled persons to crime, but also to the reasons that persons with a disability are less likely than those without a disability to report their victimization incidents to the police. Among the possible explanations, persons with disabilities might fear losing their financial security, their housing or their welfare benefits when the perpetrator in question is a person they know. [Full text]

    Persons with activity limitations are at greater risk of multiple victimization

    Some research indicates that persons with disabilities are more likely to experience multiple victimization (Petersilia, 2009, OVC, 2009, Marley and Buila, 2001). These findings were confirmed through the analysis of the 2004 survey. [Full text]

    Persons with activity limitations victims of spousal violence

    As was seen previously, the greater vulnerability and dependence of persons with disabilities increases their risk of being victims of violence by someone they know. For the same reasons, there is also a higher risk of persons with disabilities experiencing spousal violence (Brownridge, 2006, Cohen et al., 2006; Hassouneh-Philips and McNeff; 2005, Health Canada, 2004, 1993; OVC, 2002; Curry et al., 2001; Nosek et al., 2001). [Full text]

    Hate motivated crimes and discrimination against persons with activity limitations

    Under the Criminal Code, a crime committed against a person with a disability may be considered as a hate motivated crime if hate is the perpetrator's main motivation. Hate motivated crimes against persons with disabilities are however infrequent. In 2006, participating Canadian police departments reported only 2 violent hate motivated crimes against disabled persons (Dauvergne et al., 2006). [Full text]

    Stalking of persons with activity limitations

    According to the GSS, 12% of persons with activity limitations reported they were victims of stalking over the course of the 5 years preceding the survey. This compares to 9% of persons without limitations and is consistent with what was observed by Kelly and McKenna (1997). [Full text]

    Persons with activity limitations and their sense of security

    The fact that persons with activity limitations are more vulnerable and have higher victimization rates might affect their sense of security and their perceptions of crime levels. Demaris and Kaukinen (2005) and Pain (1997) also found that discrimination and stalking might contribute to a greater sense of insecurity. [Full text]

    Persons with activity limitations have a less favourable perception of the criminal justice system

    Many studies suggest that persons with disabilities may sometimes be subjected to prejudice and negative stereotyping from certain justice system workers (Petersilia, 2009; OVC, 2009, 2002; Cantos, 2006; Reid, 2004; Health Canada, 2004, 1993, Sorensen, 2002; Rioux et al., 1997). It has also already been noted that persons with activity limitations who are victims of crimes and call the police were more likely to be dissatisfied with police response. [Full text]

    Other health factors and their links with victimization

    Other health factors are also linked to higher rates of violent victimization. In particular, McNutt et al. (2002) noted that spousal violence was associated with poor eating habits, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. [Full text]


    Results from the GSS confirm what several other studies had already found, i.e. that persons with activity limitations have higher rates of violent victimization than persons without limitations. [Full text]

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