Measuring violence against women: Statistical trends (Stats Canada)

Publication Date: 
February 25, 2013
Resource Origin: 
Edited by Maire Sinha, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics


For the past three decades, Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Ministers responsible for the Status of Women have shared a common vision to end violence against women in all its forms. Violence against women in Canada is a serious, pervasive problem that crosses every social boundary and affects communities across the country. It remains a significant barrier to women's equality and has devastating impacts on the lives of women, children, families and Canadian society as a whole.

This report marks the third time that the FPT Status of Women Forum has worked with Statistics Canada to add to the body of evidence on gender-based violence. Assessing Violence Against Women: A Statistical Profile was released in 2002 and was followed by Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006. The 2006 report expanded the analysis into new areas, presenting information on Aboriginal women and women living in Canada's territories. The current report maintains this important focus and also includes information on dating violence, violence against girls and violence that occurs outside of the intimate partner/family context. It also shows trends over time and provides data at national, provincial/territorial, and census metropolitan area levels. A study on the economic impacts of one form of violence against women, spousal violence, is also presented.


This Juristat article is organized into four sections:

  •  Prevalence and severity of violence against women;
  •  Risk factors associated with violence against women;
  •  Impact of violence against women; and,
  •  Responses to violence against women.


1) Prevalence and severity of violence against women
This analysis tracks trends in violence against women over time, providing an indicator of whether the situation of violence against women has improved or worsened in Canada. In addition to profiling the nature and extent of all forms of violence against women, this section will also examine specific forms of violence where women are predominantly the victim, highlighting the gendered dimension of the issue of violence against women. These forms of violence include intimate partner violence, sexual assault and criminal harassment (stalking). Both police-reported and self-reported victimization data are used.

2) Risk factors associated with violence against women
Through mainly descriptive analysis of the socio-demographic, lifestyle, and community factors linked to violence against women, this section will help shed light on the particular subgroups and situations of women most at-risk of violence. The primary source of information comes from self-reported victimization data, with some analysis using police-reported data.

3) Impact of violence against women
The impact of violence against women extends beyond the immediate physical consequences to women and can include long-term physical and mental health repercussions on the victim, as well as consequences on the family and larger society. This section explores these impacts in detail, using primarily self-reported data on victimization.

4) Responses to violence against women
This section will examine the multiple levels of response to the issue of violence against women, including the involvement of police, the use and availability of social supports for women, and the response to the accused. A range of data sources are employed.

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