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December 2 - Day 8: Intimate Partner Violence

Dear <<First Name>>

Did you know:

 8 out of 10 victims of intimate partner violence are women. 

Since crime rates in Canada are falling, is violence against women still a serious problem?

  • Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.1
  •           67% of all Canadians say they personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted.2
  •           On average, every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.  In 2011, from the 89 police reported spousal homicides, 76 of the victims (over 85%) were women.3
  •           On any given day in Canada, more than 3,300 women (along with their 3,000 children) are forced to sleep in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence. Every night, about 200 women are turned away because the shelters are full. 4
  •           Each year, over 40,000 arrests result from domestic violence—that’s about 12% of all violent crime in Canada.5 Since only 22% of all incidents are reported to the police, the real number is much higher.
  •           According to the Department of Justice, each year Canadians collectively spend $7.4 billion to deal with the aftermath of spousal violence. This figure includes immediate costs such as emergency room visits and future costs such as loss of income. It also includes tangible costs such as funerals, and intangible costs such as pain and suffering.6
  •           In a 2009 Canadian national survey, women reported 460,000 incidents of sexual assault in just one year. 7 Only about 10% of all sexual assaults are reported to police.8  When it comes to sexual assault, women are frequently not believed, blamed for being assaulted, “or subjected to callous or insensitive treatment, when police fail to take evidence, or when their cases are dropped arbitrarily.” 9 Only a handful of reported assaults ever result in a conviction: each year, only about 1,500 sexual assault offenders are actually convicted.10  
  •          Provincially, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, which have consistently recorded the highest provincial rates of police-reported violent crime, had rates of violence against women in 2011 that were about double the national rate. Ontario and Quebec had the lowest rates of violence against women. As is the case with violent crime overall, the territories have consistently recorded the highest rates of police-reported violence against women. The rate of violent crime against women in Nunavut was nearly 13 times higher than the rate for Canada. 11

1 The Violence Against Women Survey, Statistics Canada, 1993. Although more up-to-date data would be preferable, no future Statistics Canada survey asked women about their life-time experience of violence. Available:
2 Angus Reid Omnibus Survey, Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2012.
3 “Homicide in Canada, 2011,” Statistics Canada, p. 11. Available:
4 “Shelters for Abuse Women in Canada, 2010,” Juristat, Marta Burczycka and Adam Cotter, Statistics Canada, June 27, 2011. Based on shelter admission for a randomly selected day, April 15, 2010.  Available:
5 Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2009, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada, p. 5. Available:
6 An Estimation of the Economic Impact of Spousal Violence in Canada, 2009. Available:  
7 Samuel Perreault and Shannon Brennan. Statistics Canada. Available:"> 
8 “Self-reported victimizations reported to police, 1999, 2004 and 2009,” Criminal victimization in Canada, 2009, Samuel Perreault and Shannon Brennan, Statistics Canada, 2010. Available:
9 Fact Sheet: Violence Against Women, Holly Johnson and Emily Colpitts, CRIAW-ICREF. Available:
10 “Limits of a Criminal Justice Response: Trends in Police and Court Processing of Sexual Assault,” Holly Johnson, Sexual Assault in Canada: Law, Legal Practice and Women’s Activism, edited by Elizabeth Sheehy, University of Ottawa Press 2012, p. 631. All data from Statistics Canada.
11 Violence Against Women, 2011, Statistics Canada. Available:[http://%20http//]


Intimate Partner Violence in the United States

  •          In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner.1 That’s an average of three women every day. Of all the women murdered in the U.S., about one-third were killed by an intimate partner.2
  •         Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.3 According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes every year.4 Less than 20 percent of battered women sought medical treatment following an injury.5
  •          According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which includes crimes that were not reported to the police, 232,960 women in the U.S. were raped or sexually assaulted in 2006. That’s more than 600 women every day.6 Other estimates, such as those generated by the FBI, are much lower because they rely on data from law enforcement agencies. A significant number of crimes are never even reported for reasons that include the victim’s feeling that nothing can/will be done and the personal nature of the incident.7
  •          Young women, low-income women and some minorities are disproportionately victims of domestic violence and rape. Women ages 20-24 are at greatest risk of nonfatal domestic violence8, and women age 24 and under suffer from the highest rates of rape.9 The Justice Department estimates that one in five women will experience rape or attempted rape during their college years, and that less than five percent of these rapes will be reported.10 Income is also a factor: the poorer the household, the higher the rate of domestic violence — with women in the lowest income category experiencing more than six times the rate of nonfatal intimate partner violence as compared to women in the highest income category.11 When we consider race, we see that African-American women face higher rates of domestic violence than white women, and American-Indian women are victimized at a rate more than double that of women of other races.12


1Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Homicide Victims by Gender

2Bureau of Justice Statistics, There has been a decline in homicide of intimates, especially male victims

3Deptartment of Justice, About Domestic Violence

4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Understanding
Intimate Partner Violence

5National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), Domestic Violence Facts (PDF)

6Bureau of Justice Statistics (table 2, page 15), Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2006 Statistical Tables

7US Census Bureau (page 12), National Crime Victimization Survey (PDF)

8Bureau of Justice Statistics, Victim Characteristics: Age

9Bureau of Justice Statistics (table 4, page 17) Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2006 Statistical Tables (PDF)

10National Institute of Justice (pages 6-7), Sexual Assault on Campus: What Colleges and Universities Are Doing About It (PDF)

11Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the U.S.:

12Bureau of Justice Statistics, Victim Characteristics: Race

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