DAWN Ontario: DisAbled Women's Network Ontario

Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2006

Victims Rarely Report Abuse:
StatsCan Report

July 13, 2006


Victimization surveys have shown that spousal violence frequently involves multiple incidents. However, a new study examining 10 years of police-reported data shows that most spousal violence is reported to police on only a single occasion.

The study, which analyzed spousal violence offenders and their contact with police using a 10-year data file for 1995 to 2004, was published today in the 2006 edition of Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile. It found that 8 out of every 10 spousal offenders were reported to police on only one occasion during the 10-year time frame. Persons accused of repeated spousal violence (those with two to four police-reported incidents of spousal violence) accounted for 18% of the total. Only 1% were considered chronic abusers, that is they were involved in five or more reported incidents.

These results may be partially explained by the 2004 General Social Survey (GSS) on victimization that found that only 28% of victims of spousal violence turned to police for help. Incidents that are reported tend to depend on the severity and frequency of the violence, and on whether children were witnesses. Other factors include whether the victim was female, young, Aboriginal or turned to others for support.

Read the Report:

Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile

The 2006 edition of Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile (85-224-XIE, free) is now available online.
http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/85-224-XIE/85-224-XIE2006000.pdf PDF File (PDF, 405k, 78 p.) A hard copy is also available from the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence (toll-free 1-800-267-1291)


Most victims of spousal violence only report the abuse to police once -- even though the violence frequently involves multiple incidents, a new report has revealed. The Statistics Canada study, which is based on police records from 1994-2005, shows that eight out of 10 offenders were reported only once.

Women are twice as likely to report abuse than men, and aboriginals more likely than non-aborginals, the report says. Those aged 15 to 24 were most likely to report spousal violence to the police, while those aged 35 and older were least likely to go to police. The violence is also more likely to be reported if children are witnesses to the violence, or if a person has had contact with a social-service agency in the past.

Karen Mihorean, of Statistics Canada, said "women without children are least likely to turn to police." In general, Mihorean said, women are "twice as likely as men to report to police, simply because women are more likely to experience violence."

The 10-year study showed that 52 per cent of victims said they suffered an injury. In 90 per cent of those cases the injuries were minor, but four per cent suffered major injuries and one per cent were killed as a result of the violence.

The vast majority of those who perpetrate the violence don't use a weapon, the agency report said, adding that 83 per cent of incidents don't involve one.

Charges were laid in 84 per cent of spousal violence incidents, as compared with 47 per cent in overall violent crimes.

More than half of those who reported incidents to the police later said that violence decreased, while 30 per cent said there was no change in the abuse, and 11 per cent said the situation got worse.

Injuiry, fearing for their life and having to take time off work are some of the factors that influence whether victims of spousal abuse contact police, the study says.

Spousal violence is defined as cases of murder, attempted murder, sexual and physical assault, threats, criminal harassment and other violent offences in which the accused attacker is a spouse, ex-spouse or common-law partner of the victim.

The Statistics Canada study was published July 13, 2006 in the 2006 edition of Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile.



Previous Links

New Snapshot of Family Violence (published August 13, 2003)
... Accounts for 25% of all violent crimes reported to Canadian police
... 85% were women
... two-third of perpetrators were spouses or ex-spouses


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