Family Violence in Canada:
A Statistical Profile Published in 2006
Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics
A summary of information from the report:
- Data from a subset of 119 police services in 2004 indicate that children and youth under 18 years of age are at greatest risk of being physically or sexually assaulted by someone known to them.
- In 2004, 119 per 100,000 children and youth were physically or sexually assaulted by a parent, compared to 43 per 100,000 who were victimized by a sibling. Rates of assault by an extended family member stood at 28 per 100,000 population.
- Girls under the age of 18 experience higher rates of family violence than boys (242 versus 152 victims per 100,000 population in 2004). This difference is driven by the higher prevalence of sexual assault against girls and of spousal assault against older teenage girls.
- In 2004, boys aged 14 were at highest risk for physical assault by a family member (183 per 100,000 population) whereas for girls, 16 year olds reported the highest rate (290 per 100,000 population).
- About 4 in 10 child and youth victims of family violence sustained a physical injury in 2004. Among those against whom either a weapon or physical force had been used, half sustained no physical injury, 37% experienced a minor injury, 1% suffered major injuries and for 11% police were unable to discern whether an injury had been sustained.
- Rates of major injury were highest among infants and 1 year olds.
- Nineteen percent of infants less than 1 year of age sustained a major injury as a result of family violence, as did 8% of one year olds. Rates of major injury among all other ages ranged from nil to 2%.
- According to the 2003 Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS), an estimated 235,315 child maltreatment investigations were conducted by child welfare services across Canada.
- Almost half of these investigations were substantiated, representing a rate of nearly 19 substantiated investigations per 1,000 children.
- Among substantiated child maltreatment cases, neglect was the most common form of child abuse (30%), followed by exposure to domestic violence (28%), physical abuse (24%), emotional maltreatment (15%) and sexual abuse (3%).
- The rate and type of child maltreatment was similar for boys and girls up to the age of 7, after which differences appear. The greatest proportion of boys abused were between 8 and 11 years of age, while for girls the highest proportion was between the ages of 12 and 15 years.
- Behavioral or emotional problems were among the most commonly noted functioning problems among maltreated children (27%), followed by depression or anxiety (17%) and learning disabilities (15%).
Catalogue no. 85-224-XIE. Available free at:
Children and Youth as Victims of Violent Crime
Children and youth are often victims of other incidents of violence not presented here including criminal harassment, robbery, uttering threats and abductions. For more detailed information on violence against children and youth, including violence perpetrated by non-family members, refer to the 2005 report by Kathy AuCoin. "Children and youth as victims of violent crime." Juristat. Catalogue no. 85-002-XPE, Vol.25 no. 1 Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.
A summary of information from the report:
- According to a subset of 122 police services representing 61% of the national volume of crime, in 2003, children and youth, under 18 years of age were the victims of 22% of violations against the person.
- Sexual assaults are largely crimes committed against children and youth.
- Overall, children and youth accounted for 61% of all victims of sexual assaults reported to police and accounted for 21% of all victims of physical assault.
- Six out of ten physical assault victims and half of sexual assault victims under the age of 6 were assaulted by a family member.
- Teenagers (14-to-17) experienced a higher proportion of assaults perpetrated by persons from outside of the family circle.
- As age increases the proportion of violent crime categorized as other violations involving violence or the threat of violence, which includes robbery, extortion, uttering threats and criminal harassment increased.
- Youth 14-to-17 years of age were victims in 17% of all reported robberies and in 14% of all police-reported cases of extortion -- yet they represent 5% of the population.
- At each age, female children and youth were assaulted more than males by a family member while male children and youth were more likely to be assaulted by persons from outside of the family.
- According to the same subset of 122 police services, in 2003, there were157 parental abductions of children and 134 non-parental abductions reported to the police. Over half of non-parental abductions were at the hands of strangers (57%) and the majority of victims were under the age of 13 (89%).
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