Women more likely to be victims of violent crimes: report

Saskatchewan and Manitoba had the highest rates of violence against women in 2011, Ontario and Quebec had the lowest.
Saskatchewan and Manitoba had the highest rates of violence against women in 2011, Ontario and Quebec had the lowest. File Photo: Global News

After surveying over 10,000 clients through victim service providers across the country, Statistics Canada released a report last month revealing women are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than men.

The survey was conducted on May 24, 2012 and focused on the characteristics of people seeking services, with the help of 696 victim service providers.

The report reveals that eight in 10 women were victims of a violent offence. Almost one-third of women, or 30 per cent, received services for sexual assault and were twice as likely as men to be sexually assaulted (15 per cent).

Men, however, were slightly less likely to experience violent crimes. Seven in 10 men surveyed said they were victims of violent offences.

Bonnie Levine, executive director of Victim Services Toronto, isn’t surprised by the findings.

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“In our experience, about 50 to 60 new people are referred to us every day and eight out of 10 of them are women, and women who are victims of  violent crimes, particularly domestic violence and sexual assaults,” said Levine. “The statistics actually mirror our experience.”

As outlined in a previous Statistics Canada report, women in Canada are also 11 times more likely to be sexually victimized. However, rates of self-reported violent victimization against women have remained stable since 1999.

“We do see male victims of domestic violence and it is far less often [than women],” explained Levine. “For every 100 women we may see two to three men. But I think there is far more shame and embarrassment for men, particularly with domestic violence and sexual assault, because it is often perceived as a female-identified type of crime.”

Sexual offences are less likely to be cleared by police compared to other types of violent crimes. Of the 173,600 women age 15 and older who reported being victims of violent crimes in 2011, only 1,680 resulted in a guilty verdict for sexual assault and 1,564 for other sexual offences. Guilty verdicts ranged from custody to probation and fines.

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As for why sexual crimes tend to be men towards women, Levine believes it comes down to the age-old idea that women are seen as objects.

“It really comes down to sexism,” says Levine. “Discrimination, systemic discrimination, oppression and the underlying belief, inherently, and all those systems and structures support that underlying belief that women are inferior to men.”

The five most common violent offences against women were common assault, uttering threats, serious assault, sexual assault level 1 and criminal harassment. Men most frequently experience common assault, serious assault, uttering threats, robbery and other assaults.

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