Sex Crimes Unit
Investigative Section-Sexual Assault Squad
Did you know that:
51% of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of sexual or physical violence. Close to 60% of these women have survived more than one incident of violence (Statistics Canada, 1993, "Violence Against Women Survey", The Daily, 18 November, p. 1, 3)
The Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women found that 38% of sexually assaulted women were assaulted by their husbands, common-law partners or boyfriends. (Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women, 1993)
Of the women who were sexually assaulted, most (69%) are sexually assaulted by men known to them – dates, boyfriends, marital partners, friends, family members or neighbours. (J. Brickman and J. Briere, “incidence of Rape and Sexual Assault in an Urban Canadian Population”, The International Journal of Women’s Studies, Vol. 7 no. 3 1984)
A 1984 study found that one in four Canadian women will be sexually assaulted during her lifetime. (J. Brickman and J. Briere, “incidence of Rape and Sexual Assault in an Urban Canadian Population”, The International Journal of Women’s Studies, Vol. 7 no. 3 1984)
Sexual assault is a vastly under-reported crime. According to Statistics Canada, only 6% of all sexual assaults are reported to police.
In one study, women gave the following reasons for not reporting incidents of sexual assault:
• belief that the police could do nothing about it (50% of women gave this
• concern about the attitude of both police and the courts toward sexual assault (44%);
• fear of another assault by the offender (33%);
• fear and shame (64%).
(Solicitor General of Canada, "Canadian Urban Victimization Survey," Bulletin 4: Female Victims of Crime. Ottawa, 1985.)
Statistics Canada indicates that women are physically injured in 11% of sexual assaults. (Statistics Canada, "The Violence Against Women Survey, " The Daily, November 18, 1993.)
6 out of 10 victims who reported being sexually assaulted were under 17. (Statistics Canada, 2005, "Children and Youth as Victims of Crime", The Daily, 20 April)
According to Juristat, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Rates of victimization reported to the police were highest among female teenagers and young adults. Rates of sexual offending were highest among male teenagers.
In 2000, women made up the vast majority of victims of sexual assault (86%) and other types of sexual offences (78%). (Statistics Canada, 2001, Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2001)
Victimization surveys show that less than 10% of women who are sexually assaulted report the assault to the police. (Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women, 2002, Assessing Violence Against Women: A Statistical Profile, p.19)
It is estimated that over 80% of women who are sexually assaulted do not report due to humiliation or fear of re-victimization in the legal process. For women of colour, that fear is worsened by the experience of racism. (Ontario Women's Directorate, 2002, Sexual Assault: Reporting Issues)
In reported sexual assaults, 97% of sex offenders are men (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2003)
8% of adult victims of sexual assault were men, reported to 154 police agencies across Canada (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2003)
Of sexual assaults reported to police in Canada in 2002, • 64% took place in a residence • 26% in a public place • 10% in commercial places (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2003)
In cases reported to police, 80% of sexual assault survivors knew their abusers. About 10% were assaulted by a friend and 41% were assaulted by an acquaintance. 28% were assaulted by a family member, while the remaining 20% were assaulted by a stranger. (Statistics Canada, 2003, The Daily, 25 July)
Most sexual assaults (60%) occur in a private home and the largest percentages of these (38%) occur in the victim’s home. The idea that most sexual assaults fit the ‘stranger-in-a-dark-alley’ stereotype can lead to a false sense of security. (D. Kinnon, “Report on Sexual Assault in Canada, “Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Ottawa, 1981)
Only 1% of women who have been sexually assaulted by an acquaintance report the incident to police. (Diana Russell, Sexual Exploitation: Rape, Child Abuse and Workplace Harassment, California;: Sage Publishing, 1984)
80% of sexual assaults occur at home; 49% in broad daylight. (Sexual Assault Care Centre, Women's Care Centre, Sunnybrook & Womens, 1999, Myths and Facts About Sexual Assault)
Date rape has the lowest reporting rate of all forms of sexual assault. It is estimated that only 1% of all date rapes are reported to police. There are many reasons for this including: failure to recognize date rape as sexual assault; feeling responsible in some way for the assault; fear of not being believed and shame at having been violated. (Diana Russell, Sexual Exploitation: Rape, Child Abuse and Workplace Harassment, California: Sage Publishing, 1984.)
The Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women reports that 31% of sexual assaults occur in dating and acquaintance relationships. (The Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women, "Changing the Landscape: Ending Violence, Achieving Equality," Ottawa, 1993.)
Research indicates that a shocking number of young men and women believe it is okay to coerce a woman to have sex. In a recent Toronto study, 31% of males and 22% of females agreed when asked, "If a girl engages in necking or petting and she lets things get out of hand, is it her own fault if her partner forces sex on her?" Another study found that 60% of Canadian college-aged males said they would commit sexual assault if they were certain they would not get caught. (Helen Lenskyj, "An Analysis of Violence Against Women: A Manual for Educators and Administrators," Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 1992.)
• Strangers were the assailants in 20% of sexual assaults reported to the police in 2003 (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics). All other assaults were committed by someone known to the survivor with the highest proportion of acquaintance assaults (41%) committed by a casual acquaintance of the survivor.
• Children aged 12 and under are most often victimized by family members especially in the case of girls (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2003).
• In reported sexual assaults, 97% of sex offenders are men (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2003).
• Sobsey (1994) found that almost half of the perpetrators of abuse against people with disabilities made contact with the abuse survivor through services related to the survivor’s disability.
• A study in the united States by the Centre for Research on Women with Disabilities (1999), suggests that women with disabilities are more likely to be abused by medical professionals and parents than women without disabilities.