Criminal victimization in the territories, 2014

by Samuel Perreault and Laura Simpson

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Highlights

  • More than one-quarter of residents of the territories (28%) reported being the victim of at least one crime in 2014. This was down from the proportion reported in 2009 (34%), but remains higher than the figure reported in the provinces (18%).
  • Both violent victimization (-29%) and household victimization (-34%) decreased from 2009. However, the rate of theft of personal property remained stable.
  • Nunavut recorded the highest rates of both violent victimization (241E per 1,000 population) and household victimization (313 per 1,000 population) among the territories. On the other hand, this territory also reported the lowest rate of theft of personal property (68E per 1,000 population).
  • Overall, the proportion of people who reported being the victim of at least one crime was higher in communities with a population of 2,000 or more (32%) than in smaller communities (19%).
  • Approximately one-third of residents of the territories (34%) reported having been the victim of abuse by an adult at least once before the age of 15. This proportion was higher among those aged 45 to 64 years (45%) than those aged 15 to 34 years (26%).
  • Among those with a spouse or common-law partner (current or ex), 12% reported at least one spousal violence incident in the preceding five years, similar to the proportion reported in 2009. Three-quarters (75%) of victims were Aboriginal.
  • Consistent with data in the provinces, Aboriginal identity was not associated with an increased risk of violent victimization when other risk factors were taken into account.
  • Approximately one-half (49%) of victims of spousal violence reported sustaining injuries due to the violence. This proportion was higher than the proportion observed in the provinces (31%).
  • Almost half (49%) of cases of spousal violence were reported to the police, and so were 36% of victimization incidents other than spousal violence.
  • About one-third (34%) of females in the territories reported feeling very safe walking alone at night, compared with almost two-thirds (62%) of males.
  • Over one-third of territorial residents (36%) reported having a great deal of confidence in the police. Aboriginal residents were less likely to report having a great deal of confidence in the police compared to non-Aboriginal residents (30% compared with 43%, respectively).

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Statistics Canada relies on two complementary instruments to collect official data on criminal victimization in Canada: police-reported data collected through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey, and self-reported data collected through the General Social Survey (GSS). While the UCR is an annual census of all crimes that come to the attention of the police, the GSS on victimization is a sample survey conducted every 5 years which asks Canadians to report on their personal experiences of victimization, and as such, includes both crimes that are reported to police and those that are not.

Data collected from both the GSS and UCR show that crime rates in the Canadian territories—Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut—are notably higher than the rest of Canada (Allen and Perreault 2015; Perreault and Hotton Mahoney 2012).

The territories also have different social and economic conditions compared to the provinces, such as a large population of residents reporting an Aboriginal identity, a younger population, high unemployment and remote communities. In addition, the territories differ from one another on a variety of factors like culture and socio-demographic composition. As such, analysis specific to the territories could help to better understand the nature of victimization in that region of the country.

This Juristat presents the first results on victimization in the territories from the 2014 GSS. The analysis provides insight on the nature and extent of criminal victimization in Canada’s three territories. This Juristat also presents new information on childhood victimization and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and their links to victimization in the territories. Furthermore, information on peoples’ perceptions of the criminal justice system, including their confidence in the police, is presented.

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Text box 1
Definition of criminal victimization in Canada

The GSS on victimization surveyed Canadians on their experiences with eight types of offences, which are:

Violent victimization: Sexual assault, robbery or physical assault.

  • Sexual assault: Forced sexual activity, attempted forced sexual activity, unwanted sexual touching, grabbing, kissing or fondling, or sexual relations without being able to give consent.
  • Robbery: Theft or attempted theft in which the offender had a weapon or there was violence or the threat of violence against the victim.
  • Physical assault: An attack (victim hit, slapped, grabbed, knocked down, or beaten), a face-to-face threat of physical harm, or an incident with a weapon present.

Theft of personal property: Theft or attempted theft of personal property such as money, credit cards, clothing, jewellery, purse or wallet. Unlike robbery, the offender does not confront the victim.

Household victimization: Break and enter, theft of motor vehicle or parts, theft of household property or vandalism.

  • Break and enter: Illegal entry or attempted entry into a residence or other building on the victim’s property.
  • Theft of motor vehicle or parts: Theft or attempted theft of a car, truck, van, motorcycle, moped or other vehicle, or part of a motor vehicle.
  • Theft of household property: Theft or attempted theft of household property such as bicycles, electronic equipment, tools or appliances.
  • Vandalism: Wilful damage of personal or household property.

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More than one-quarter of residents of the territories reported being the victim of a crimeNote 1

In 2014, more than one-quarter of residents of the territories (28%) reported being the victim of at least one of the eight offences measured by the GSS in the 12 months preceding the survey. This is down from the proportion reported in 2009 (34%), but remains higher than the figure reported in the provinces (18%).

In all, close to 36,000 criminal incidents were reported to the GSS by residents of the territories in 2014. Of these, the majority (58%) were non-violent, being either theft of personal property (30%) or household crimes (29%). The remaining 42% were violent crimes, specifically sexual assault, robbery and physical assault.

Of the eight crime types measured by the GSS, physical assault and theft of personal property were the most frequent, representing 32% and 30%, respectively, of the crimes reported by the residents of the territories in 2014.

The other crimes were less frequent and occurred in the following order: theft of household property (12%), sexual assault (7%), break and enter (7%), vandalism (7%) and theft of a motor vehicle or parts (3%). Given the sample size, the number of robberies reported in the territories in 2014 was too small to produce a reliable estimate.

Rates of violent victimization and household victimization down from 2009

In order to make comparisons across time and between geographies, rates are normally calculated to account for differences in population sizes. As such, the approximately 15,000 violent incidents reported by residents of the territories in 2014 translated into a rate of 170 violent incidents per 1,000 population 15 years and older. For non-violent crimes, rates of 252 incidents targeting households per 1,000 households, and 121 thefts of personal property per 1,000 population were recorded (Table 1).

The rates of both violent victimizationNote 2 (-29%) and household victimization (-34%) decreased from 2009. While the number of thefts of personal property increased during this same period, the rate increase was not statistically significant.

Victimization rates were higher in the territories than in the provinces

Consistent with 2014 police-reported data, GSS data show that victimization rates were higher in the territories than in the provinces. The difference was particularly pronounced for violent crime, for which the rate in the territories was more than twice the rate in the provinces (Chart 1).

Chart 1

Description for Chart 1
Chart 1 Victimization incidents, provinces and territories, 2014, rate
  Provinces Territories†
Violent victimization 76** 170
Household victimization 143** 252
Theft of personal property 73** 121
** significantly different from reference category (p < 0.05)
† reference category
Note:
Violent victimization includes sexual assault, robbery and physical assault. Household victimization includes break and enter, theft of motor vehicle (or parts), theft of household property and vandalism. Violent victimization and theft of personal property rates are calculated per 1,000 population aged 15 years and older. Household victimization rates are calculated per 1,000 households.
Source:
Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2014.

Nunavut had the highest rates of violent and household victimization

The proportion of people who reported being a victim of at least one of the eight crimes measured by the GSS was quite similar across the territories, ranging from 27% in Nunavut to 29% in the Northwest Territories.

While the proportion of victims was similar, the nature of victimization differed from one territory to another. Specifically, Nunavut recorded the highest rates of both violent victimizationNote 3 (241E per 1,000 population) and household victimizationNote 4 (313 per 1,000 population) among the territories. On the other hand, this territory also reported the lowest rate of theft of personal property (68E per 1,000 population) (Table 2, Charts 2 and 3).

Chart 2

Description for Chart 2
Chart 2 Violent victimization incidents, by territory, 2009 and 2014, rate per 1,000 population aged 15 years and older
  2009 2014†
Yukon 271E** 120E
Northwest Territories 210E 161E
Nunavut1 252E 241E
All territories 240E* 170
E use with caution
* significantly different from reference category (p < 0.1)
** significantly different from reference category (p < 0.05)
† reference category
In 2009, collection was limited to Nunavut's ten largest communities and resulted in undercoverage of the Inuit population and lower response rates than those in Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Results from 2009 for Nunavut, therefore, should be used with caution.
Note:
Violent victimization includes sexual assault, robbery and physical assault.
Source:
Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2009 and 2014.

Chart 3

Description for Chart 3
Chart 3 Household victimization incidents, by territory, 2009 and 2014, rate per 1,000 households
  2009 2014†
Yukon 362** 218
Northwest Territories 383** 248
Nunavut1 409 313
All territories 379** 252
** significantly different from reference category (p < 0.05)
† reference category
In 2009, collection was limited to Nunavut's ten largest communities and resulted in undercoverage of the Inuit population and lower response rates than those in Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Results from 2009 for Nunavut, therefore, should be used with caution.
Note:
Household victimization includes break and enter, theft of motor vehicle (or parts), theft of household property and vandalism.
Source:
Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2009 and 2014.

Conversely, Yukon recorded the lowest violent victimization rate (120E per 1,000 population). Yukon is also the territory that saw the most significant decline in victimization rates from 2009, with its violent victimization rate falling by 56% and the household victimization rate decreasing by 40%. The Northwest Territories also observed a considerable decline in its household victimization rate (-35%) compared with 2009.

Victimization was more common in the territories’ larger communities

Overall, the proportion of people who reported being the victim of at least one of the eight offences measured by the GSS was higher in territory communities with a population of 2,000 or more. Specifically, nearly one-third (32%) of residents in the larger communities reported being the victims of at least one of the eight crimes measured by the GSS, compared with one in five people (19%) in the smallest communities. However, no significant differences were found between the three largest communities—the three capital cities—and the other communities with a population of 2,000 or more (Chart 4).

Chart 4

Description for Chart 4
Chart 4 Proportion of residents of the territories who reported being the victim of a crime, by community of 2,000 or more, territories, 2014
  percent
All communities 28.15**
All communities of less than 2,000† 19.03
All communities of 2,000 or more 32.35**
Iqaluit 39.28**
Rankin Inlet 41.78**
Arviat/Baker Lake1 29.68**
Fort Smith/Fort Simpson1 30.32**
Yellowknife 36.30**
Hay River 14.26E
Inuvik 35.31E
Whitehorse 30.00**
E use with caution
** significantly different from reference category (p < 0.05)
† reference category
For operational reasons, these communities were grouped into the same stratum. Thus, the weighted data represent the population of the entire stratum.
Note:
Includes population aged 15 years and older.
Source:
Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2014.

Among the communities, Rankin Inlet (42%) and Iqaluit (39%) had the highest proportions of victims. Nearly all communities with a population of 2,000 or more recorded victimization rates that were higher than the average of the smallest communities.

In general, the difference between large and small communities was mainly attributable to theft of personal property rates, which were significantly higher in the former (164 per 1,000 compared with 28E per 1,000). Incidentally, the tendency toward higher rates of personal property theft in large population centres is also observed in the provinces (Perreault 2015).

In Nunavut, the difference between large and small communities was also attributable to higher household victimization rates in larger communities compared to smaller ones.

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Text box 2
Childhood maltreatment

Several studies have shown a link between abuse experienced during childhood and both an increased risk of victimization in adulthood (Parks et al. 2011; Reid and Sullivan 2009; Desai et al. 2002) and an increased likelihood of having contact with police (Boyce 2015). For the first time, the 2014 GSS included detailed questions about respondents’ experiences of maltreatment during childhood.

Approximately one-third of residents of the territories (34%) reported having been the victim of some form of abuse by an adult at least once before the age of 15. This proportion was slightly higher than the one recorded in the provinces (30%).

Specifically, 6% of residents of the territories reported experiencing both physical and sexual violence, while 24% experienced solely physical assault, and 4% experienced solely sexual violence.

The proportion of victims of childhood maltreatment was relatively similar across the territories. However, older people—particularly those aged 45 to 64 years—were more likely than younger respondents to report being the victim of childhood maltreatment. Approximately one-quarter (26%) of respondents between the ages of 15 and 34 years reported experiencing childhood maltreatment, compared with 45% among those aged 45 to 64 years (Chart 5).

Chart 5

Description for Chart 5
Chart 5 Proportion of individuals who reported being abused by an adult before the age of 15, by age group, by territory, 2014, percent
  15 to 34 years old 35 years old and over†
Yukon 26.8** 38.3
Northwest Territories 27.3E** 42.9
Nunavut 24.7** 38.4
All territories 26.3** 40.0
E use with caution
** significantly different from reference category (p < 0.05)
† reference category
Source:
Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2014.

In approximately one-half (53%) of cases of physical violence experienced during childhood, the offender was a member of the victim’s immediate family, most often the father (28%) or the mother (16%).Note 5 In cases of sexual abuse, however, the offender was more likely to be an extended family member such as an uncle or cousin (23%), a stranger (18%) or an acquaintance (17%).

The majority (62%) of people who experienced childhood maltreatment never spoke of the abuse to anyone before the age of 15, whether to a family member, friend, neighbour or anyone else.

Males (69%) were more likely than females (53%) to report that they had never spoken about the abuse before they turned 15 years old. Older people were also less likely to have spoken about the abuse to anyone while they were under 15. More than half (52%) of people aged 15 to 24 years who experienced childhood maltreatment told someone about it, compared to 29% of people aged 55 to 64 years and 23%E of people aged 65 years and older who did so.

In addition to questions about maltreatment experienced during childhood, the 2014 GSS also asked respondents about violence they may have witnessed as children. About 17% of residents of the territories reported having witnessed violence by one of their parents toward another adult during the time that they were under the age of 15.

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Violent victimization

The risk of being a victim of a violent crime is not the same for everyone. Lifestyle, the places people frequent or the region in which they live can expose people to a higher risk of being the victim of a crime (Perreault 2015; Lilly et al. 2014).

Several characteristics have been shown to be associated with higher rates of victimization (Perreault 2015; Perreault and Brennan 2010), some of which can be interrelated. For example, young people may have a higher rate of victimization than older people, and students may have higher rates of victimization than those who are employed full-time. However, according to a previous study, being a student may not be associated with a higher risk of violent victimization when other factors are controlled for, mainly age (Mihorean et al. 2001).

Using the 2014 GSS data, a multivariate analysis was conducted to determine which factors had an impact on the risk of violent victimization (Model 1). This section highlights the characteristics that were found to be associated with a higher risk of violent victimization in the territories.

The risk of violent victimization was higher among women

Women’s rate of violent victimization was 182 violent incidents per 1,000 women, a rate not significantly different from that reported by men (157E per 1,000 men) (Table 3). However, when controlling for other risk factors, such as using drugs or having a history of childhood victimization, women’s risk of violent victimization was approximately 45% higher than men’s (Model 1). In other words, for people with similar characteristics, a female would have a greater risk of violent victimization than her male counterpart.

A similar trend was observed in the provinces in 2014. This was mainly due to the relative stability of the sexual assault victimization rate—of which the majority of victims are women—and a decline in the rates of other violent crimes.

The risk of victimization decreases with age

As was observed in the provinces, in the territories the risk of violent victimization decreases with age. For example, persons aged 15 to 24 years recorded a rate of 298E violent incidents per 1,000 population, compared with 92E per 1,000 among people aged 45 years and older (Table 3). Young people were more likely to report certain behaviours associated with a higher risk of violent victimization, such as using drugs or going out at night. When other factors were taken into account, however, age was still associated with the risk of victimization, which decreases approximately 5% with every year of age (Model 1).

Drug use increases the risk of violent victimization

In 2014, drug use was one of the main risk factors for violent victimization in the territories. People who reported having used drugs in the month preceding the survey recorded a rate of 333E violent incidents per 1,000 population, a rate 2.5 times higher than for non-users (134 per 1,000) (Table 4).

Going out in the evening frequently was another behaviour found to be associated with a higher risk of violent victimization. For example, people who reported having 15 or more evening activities during the month preceding the survey recorded a rate of 219 incidents per 1,000 population, compared with 132E per 1,000 among those who reported less than 15 activities.

Moreover, people who reported engaging in at least one binge drinking episode—that is, at least five alcoholic drinks on a single occasion—recorded a higher rate of violent victimization than those who did not engage in binge drinking (230 per 1,000 population compared with 147E per 1,000).

When all risk factors were taken together, drug use continued to be associated with an increased risk of victimization, while evening activities and alcohol use were no longer factors.

A history of child maltreatment is associated with higher victimization rates

Several studies have shown a link between abuse experienced during childhood and an increased risk of victimization in adulthood (see Text box 2). In line with these studies, data from the 2014 GSS show that childhood maltreatment was one of the most significant risk factors for violent victimization experienced in the previous 12 months in the territories. Those who reported experiencing childhood maltreatment recorded a violent victimization rate 2.6 times higher than those who did not suffer abuse as a child (288 per 1,000 population compared with 111E per 1,000) (Table 4). Moreover, this difference persisted even when the other risk factors were taken into account (Model 1).

A history of homelessness is associated with higher risk of violent victimization

People in the territories with a history of homelessness—that is, those who have been homeless or have had to live with family, friends or in a vehicle because they had nowhere else to go— recorded a violent victimization rate that was nearly three times higher than people with no such history (357E per 1,000 population compared with 134 per 1,000) (Table 4). When all risk factors were taken into account, a history of homelessness remained significantly correlated with the risk of violent victimization (Model 1).

Low social cohesion is associated with higher rates of violent victimization

Social cohesion generally refers to a neighbourhood where people know each other, help each other and share common values (Charron 2009; Forrest and Kearns 2001). Low social cohesion is thought to be associated with higher levels of crime, particularly due to less social control and collective efficacy in the neighbourhood (Sampson 2012; Charron 2009).

Certain indicators suggest that this relationship was observable in the territories in 2014. For example, people who stated their neighbourhood was not a place where neighbours helped each other recorded a violent victimization rate almost twice as high as those who believed the opposite (291E per 1,000 population compared with 153 per 1,000) (Table 4).

Higher violent victimization rates were also observed among those who reported social disorder in their neighbourhood (239 per 1,000 population compared with 122E per 1,000). The presence of social disorder—such as litter, noisy neighbours, people who were drunk or using drugs in public places—can be considered a sign of social disorganization (Brown et al. 2004).

However, when all risk factors were taken into account, the factor found to be most associated with risk of violent victimization was the likelihood that neighbours would call the police if they witnessed criminal behaviour. Specifically, the risk of victimization was more than two times higher among people who considered it unlikely that their neighbours would notify the police if they witnessed a criminal act (Model 1).

People whose activities are limited by a physical condition are at higher risk for violent victimization

Various studies have suggested that physical or mental disabilities may be a risk factor for greater vulnerability to potential offenders (Perreault 2009; Cantos 2006). According to data from the 2014 GSS, physical or mental disabilities were associated with a 50% higher risk of violent victimization when other risk factors were taken into account (Model 1).

Aboriginal identity was not linked to the risk of violent victimization when all risk factors were taken into account

Data from previous GSS cycles as well as homicide data demonstrated that Aboriginal people are over-represented as victims of crime (Miladinovic and Mulligan 2015; Perreault and Hotton Mahoney 2012). The 2014 GSS data also revealed higher violent victimization rates for Aboriginal people living in the territories than for their non-Aboriginal counterparts (215 incidents per 1,000 Aboriginal people compared with 121 per 1,000 non-Aboriginals) (Table 3).

However, similar to 2014 provincial findings, Aboriginal identity was no longer associated with a risk of violent victimization when all other risk factors were taken into account (see Model 1 for significant risk factors). As such, the differences between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people may have more to do with the relatively higher presence of risk factors among Aboriginal people.

Household victimization

As with violent victimization, certain characteristics of households can be associated with relatively high rates of household victimization, that is break and enter, theft of motor vehicle or parts, theft of household property or vandalism. This section highlights the main household characteristics that were linked with higher victimization rates in the territories. It should be noted that no multivariate analysis was performed for household victimization. As such some of these characteristics may not be risk factors if all other risk factors were controlled for.Note 6

Low social cohesion was associated with higher rates of household victimization

As was observed with violent victimization, higher household victimization rates in the territories were associated with certain indicators of low social cohesion. For example, the household victimization rate was nearly double in households located in neighbourhoods where people do not help each other (417 per 1,000 households compared with 223 per 1,000).

Similarly, the victimization rate was higher among households located in an area where neighbours are unlikely to call the police if they witness a criminal act (411E incidents per 1,000 households) and among those that report social disorder (416 per 1,000 households) (Table 5).

Renters recorded higher rates of household victimization

In 2014, tenant households reported higher victimization rates than those who owned their dwelling. Specifically, the household victimization rate was 309 per 1,000 tenant households, compared with 205 per 1,000 owner households (Table 5). The same trend was observed in the provinces.

Moreover, households that had occupied their dwelling for less than three years reported a higher victimization rate than those who had lived in their dwelling longer (299 per 1,000 households compared with 232 per 1,000).Note 7

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Text box 3
Differences between GSS data on victimization and police-reported data

Although the data from the GSS on Victimization and the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey both capture information on crime in Canada, the two surveys have many differences including survey type, scope, coverage and source of information. As such, numbers from these two surveys should not be directly compared and trends should be compared with caution.

The GSS is a sample survey which, in 2014, collected data from more than 2,000 (in addition to about 33,000 in the provinces) non-institutionalized individuals aged 15 years and older living in the three territories. The GSS collects data on eight types of offences but excludes crimes targeting businesses or institutions. One of the main advantages of the GSS is that it captures information on criminal incidents that do not come to the attention of the police, which is sometimes referred to as the “dark figure” of crime (see the Survey description section for more information on the GSS). In comparison, the UCR is an annual census of all offences under the Criminal Code and certain other federal laws that come to the attention of the police and are reported by them to Statistics Canada.

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Spousal violence

In the 2014 GSS on victimization, respondents who were married or living in a common-law relationship at the time of the survey, or who had been in contact with their ex-spouse or ex-common-law partner during the five years preceding the survey, were asked a series of questions about their experiences with spousal violence in the past five years.

The questions measure both physical and sexual violence, as defined by the Criminal Code and which could be acted upon by police. This includes threats of violence against the victim or the act of being pushed, grabbed, shoved, slapped, kicked, bitten, hit, beaten, choked, threatened with a gun or knife or forced into sexual activity.

Unlike most violent crime, spousal violence may be part of a pattern of ongoing abuse. As such, incident characteristics, risk factors and consequences for the victims may differ along with the type of violence (Douglas and Otto 2010). While the rates presented in the previous sections included both spousalNote 8 and non-spousal violence, the remainder of this report examines them separately.

More than one in ten people with a current or former spouse or partner living in the territories reported spousal violence in the previous five years

According to the 2014 GSS, nearly two-thirds of residents of the territories aged 15 and over—approximately 58,000 people—were either married or in a common-law relationship or had been in contact with their ex-partner in the previous five years. Of these people, just over 1 in 10 (12%) reported being the victim of some form of spousal violence on at least one occasion in the five years preceding the survey, representing approximately 7,000 victims (Table 6).

The proportion of spousal violence victims in the territories is relatively similar to that observed in 2009 (10%) (Chart 6), which contrasts with the situation observed in the provinces, where the rate of spousal violence was lower for the same period (from 6% in 2009 to 4% in 2014). The proportion of spousal violence victims varied from 7%E in Yukon to 16% in Nunavut.Note 9

Chart 6

Description for Chart 6
Chart 6 Spousal violence during the five years preceding the survey, by territory, 2009 and 2014, percent
  2009 2014
Yukon 6.46E 6.84E
Northwest Territories 11.91 13.16E
Nunavut1 13.53 16.46
All territories 10.25 11.91
E use with caution
In 2009, collection was limited to Nunavut's ten largest communities and resulted in undercoverage of the Inuit population and lower response rates than those in Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Results from 2009 for Nunavut, therefore, should be used with caution.
Note:
Includes legally married and common-law spouses and those who separated or divorced from a legal marriage or common-law union, and had contact with this previous partner in the five years preceding the survey.
Source:
Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2009 and 2014.

In addition to physical or sexual violence, nearly one-quarter (23%) of the territories’ spousal population reported having been the victim of psychological or financial abuse. While this form of abuse is not used to calculate rates of spousal violence, it nonetheless provides a better understanding of the context in which spousal violence occurs, since 81% of spousal violence victims also reported being the victims of psychological and financial abuse.

Almost one-third of victims suffered the most severe types of spousal violence

Half of spousal violence victims in the territories (50%) reported experiencing more than one incident of spousal violence during the previous five years, and close to one victim in five (18%E) reported being the victim of at least 10 incidents during this same period.

The violence reported by victims took various forms, from those that could be considered to be less severe (such as being threatened, having an object thrown at oneself, or being pushed or slapped) to the most severe forms (such as being beaten, choked, threatened with a gun or knife or sexually assaulted). Just over 4 out of 10 victims (43%) reported having experienced solely the less severe forms of spousal violence. However, approximately 3 in 10 (32%E) reported having been the victim of the most severe types of violence (Chart 7).

Chart 7

Description for Chart 7
Chart 7 Most serious type of violent victimization, by a spouse or ex-spouse, territories, 2014
  percent of victims
Threatened to hit/thrown anything 11.79E
Pushed/grabbed/shoved/slapped 31.31E
Kicked/bit/hit/hit with something that could hurt 24.64E
Beaten or choked 14.05E
Forced into sexual activity/threatened with a gun or a knife1 18.22E
E use with caution
Includes having had non-consensual sexual relations because the victim was drugged, manipulated or forced in some way other than physically.
Source:
Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2014.

Those who were the victims of several incidents of spousal violence were more likely to report having experienced the most severe types of violence. For example, close to two-thirds (66%E) of those who were victims at least 10 times reported experiencing the most severe forms of spousal violence, compared with less than one-quarter (24%E) of the victims who reported three or fewer incidents.

Aboriginal people over-represented among spousal violence victims in the territories

As in 2009, Aboriginal people were over-represented among victims of spousal violence in the territories, particularly with respect to its most severe forms. In 2014, Aboriginal people represented just under half (49%) of the spousal population of the territories, but three-quarters (75%) of victims of spousal violence in the previous five years. Further, Aboriginal people represented 93% of victims of the most severe forms of spousal violence, that is, having been beaten, choked, threatened with a weapon or sexually assaulted.

Drug use associated with risk of spousal violence

Drug use, either by the victim or the spouse, was strongly associated with spousal violence in the territories. People who stated that they used drugs during the month preceding the survey were more than three times more likely than non-drug users to have experienced spousal violence in the previous five years (29% compared with 9%) (Table 6).

Similarly, nearly one-third (32%E) of those whose current spouse used drugs in the previous month were victims of spousal violence in the past five years, compared with 6%E of those whose spouse did not use drugs.

Alcohol use was also associated with spousal violence, but to a lesser extent. Among those who reported engaging in at least one binge drinking episode—that is, at least five alcoholic drinks on a single occasion—during the previous month, one in six (16%) had been a victim of spousal violence during the past five years, compared with 10% of those who did not engage in binge drinking.

People who suffered childhood maltreatment were more likely to be victims of spousal violence

In 2014, the GSS included questions about abuse that Canadians may have suffered when they were under the age of 15 (see Text box 2). Several studies have shown a link between abuse experienced during childhood and victimization in adulthood, particularly spousal violence (Franklin and Kercher 2012; Parks et al. 2011; Desai et al. 2002).

Those who had been victims of violence during their childhood were more likely to report having experienced spousal violence in the five years preceding the survey. In the territories, nearly one-quarter (24%E) of those who suffered sexual abuse during childhood reported being a victim of spousal violence in the five years preceding the survey. This proportion was 19% for those who experienced physical abuse during childhood, and 8% for those who suffered no abuse during childhood (Table 6). Overall, more than half (56%) of victims of spousal violence were victims of child abuse.

One-half of spousal violence cases in the territories witnessed by children

In addition to direct violence suffered in childhood, indirect violence—that is, witnessing violence as a child—is thought to be associated with a greater risk of experiencing spousal violence in adulthood (Franklin and Kercher 2012). Data from the 2014 GSS indicate an association between witnessing violence in childhood and experiencing spousal violence. People who, during their childhood, witnessed parental violence toward another parent or adult were more than twice as likely to have been a victim of spousal violence (22%E compared with 9%).

Research has shown that children who have witnessed violence are more likely to develop certain psychological disorders (Levendosky et al. 2013; Ellonen et al. 2013), display anti-social behaviours in adolescence (Sousa et al. 2011; Johnson and Dauvergne 2001) or become offenders themselves in adulthood (Franklin and Kercher 2012). For these reasons, it is important to not only consider the direct victims of spousal violence, but also the children who may have witnessed it.

According to the 2014 GSS data, this is all the more important since spousal violence was more prevalent in couples with children. In 2014, 10% of people who were married or living common-law and had children under the age of 15 in the household were victims of spousal violence, compared with 6%E Note 10 of those without children. Similarly, 40% of those who had children with their ex-spouse or common-law partner were the victims of violence at the hands of that person, compared with 14%E of those who had no children with their ex-spouse or common-law partner.

In approximately half of the cases of spousal violence in which there were children in the household, the victim reported that at least one child had witnessed the violence.

One-half of spousal violence victims suffered injuries

Approximately one-half (49%) of victims of spousal violence in the five years preceding the survey reported sustaining injuries on at least one occasion due to the violence, a proportion higher than that recorded in the provinces (31%) (Chart 8).

Chart 8

Description for Chart 8
Chart 8 Proportion of spousal violence victims who sustained injuries, by territory, 2014
  percent of victims
Yukon 39.25E
Northwest Territories 41.69E
Nunavut 62.07E
All territories† 49.06
All provinces 30.76**
E use with caution
** significantly different from reference category (p < 0.05)
† reference category
Source:
Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2014.

The proportion of victims sustaining injuries ranged from 56% among female victims to 42%E among male victims. However, this difference was not statistically significant.

There were also variations among the territories in the proportions of victims who sustained injuries. For example, Nunavut was the territory where residents with a spouse or common-law partner (current or ex) were the most likely to report being victim of spousal violence causing injuries.Note 11

The majority of spousal violence victims were affected emotionally

In addition to physical injuries, spousal violence victims can be affected emotionally or psychologically. The majority of victims reported being affected emotionally in some way, while only 12%E said they were not much affected or not at all affected. The most common reactions were feeling upset (32%E), angry (27%) or hurt or disappointed (24%E) (Chart 9).

Chart 9

Description for Chart 9
Chart 9 Emotional consequences of spousal violence, territories, 2014
  percent of victims
Not affected at all/not much affected 11.84E
Ashamed/guilty/lower self-esteem 10.34E
Afraid for children 11.67E
Depression/anxiety attacks/sleeping problems 12.95E
Shock/disbelief 14.58E
Fearful/more cautious and aware 17.19E
Hurt/disappointment/victimized 24.38E
Angry 26.83
Upset/confused/frustrated 31.53E
E use with caution
Note:
Respondents were able to give more than one answer.
Source:
Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2014.

In 2014, victims who reported being affected emotionally by violence were asked a series of four questions on the long-term effects of violence. These questions were taken from the Primary Care PTSD Screen (PC-PTSD) tool (see Text box 4). In the territories, more than one-third of victims of spousal violence reported feeling at least one of these effects in the month preceding the survey.

Start of text box

Text box 4
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Some research to date has found that victims of violence may experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can affect individuals that have experienced physical and/or psychological trauma, and is characterized by feelings of detachment, being constantly on guard, nightmares and avoidance behaviors. Studies of those affected have found that PTSD is associated with impaired physical health, decreased quality of life and increased mortality (Prins et al. 2003).

Victims were asked whether they had experienced the following as a result of their victimization:

In the past month have you:

  1. Had nightmares about it or thought about it when you did not want to?
  2. Tried hard not to think about it or went out of your way to avoid situations that reminded you of it?
  3. Felt constantly on guard, watchful or easily startled?
  4. Felt numb or detached from others, activities or your surroundings?

These new questions included in the GSS are from the Primary Care PTSD Screen (PC-PTSD) tool, a front-line assessment tool used to identify individuals who should be referred to further psychological and psychiatric treatment for the disorder (Prins et al. 2003). The tool is designed to assess whether an individual demonstrates key affects related to the core PTSD symptoms of re-experiencing, numbing, avoidance and hyperarousal. If an individual answers ‘yes’ to any three of the four questions, the presence of PTSD is suspected. It is crucial to note that the PC-PTSD is not a diagnostic tool, and a suspicion of PTSD is not the same as a diagnosis. In a clinical setting, a positive score on the PC-PTSD would indicate that the patient should be referred for more in-depth assessment and possible diagnosis.

End of text box

Close to half of spousal violence cases in the territories were reported to police

In almost half (49%) of cases of spousal violence, the abuse was reported to the police. This proportion was almost twice as high as what was recorded in the provinces (29%).

Contrary to non-spousal violence, the police were almost as likely to have been alerted personally by the victim (25%) rather than through another means (24%). On average, the police were notified after the fourth incident of spousal violence.

Spousal violence was more likely to be brought to the attention of police in the Northwest Territories (61%) or Nunavut (50%) than in Yukon (23%E).

Nearly one-quarter of spousal violence victims used victim assistance services

In addition to assistance from the police, victims of spousal violence may be able to turn to a number of services for victims, including crisis centres, shelters, victim assistance programs, psychologists and social workers. Just under one-quarter (23%) of spousal violence victims in the territories used at least one of these services. About two-thirds of victims who did not make use of these services stated that they did not want or need assistance.

Characteristics of violent incidents

In the 2014 GSS, violent crime victims were asked to provide details on the nature of the incidents they had experienced. This information can provide a better understanding of the context in which violent incidents occur. Spousal violence is excluded from the analysis below, as it was addressed in the previous section.

Most offenders were men

Similar to what was observed in the provinces and to findings from police-reported data, the majority of offenders (77%) were male. For the most part, the offenders were also relatively young; according to the victims, 80% of the offenders were under the age of 45 and 33%E were under 25 years (Table 7).

Violence is often related to alcohol or drug use by the offender

Not only are alcohol and drug use associated with an increased risk of violent victimization, but according to the victims, violent incidents are often linked to alcohol or drug use by the offender. Close to two-thirds (63%) of victims of violent crime said this was the case in their situation (Table 7).

Most violent incidents do not involve a weapon

The presence of a weapon is an element that can be used to measure the seriousness of a crime. For example, the presence of a weapon is one of the criteria used to classify the different levels of physical assault and sexual assault under the Criminal Code. In 2014, just over one-quarter (27%E) of victims of non-spousal violent crimes reported the presence of a weapon during the incident (Table 7). This proportion is relatively similar to that observed in 2009.

Less than one-third of violent incidents occurred in a private residence

Less than one-third (31%E) of violent incidents occurred in a private residence, either the victim’s or another person’s. Most incidents (65%) occurred in a commercial or institutional establishment or in a public place. Furthermore, one violent incident in five (20%E) occurred at the victim’s place of work (Table 7).

Consequences of victimization

Victimization can have multiple consequences, from physical injury to psychological effects and financial loss. The scope of the consequences can, in fact, help assess the seriousness of a crime. Information on the consequences of victimization is also helpful in determining victims’ needs. The consequences of spousal violence are excluded from the following analysis since they were addressed previously.

Decrease in the proportion of violent crimes causing injury

According to the 2014 GSS in the territories, approximately one in six (16%E) victims of violent crime, excluding spousal violence, reported having sustained injuries as a result of the incident. Five years earlier, this proportion was more than double (36%). Yukon residents were the least likely to report injuries, with the majority (93%) having sustained none (Table 7). By comparison, this proportion was 73% in Nunavut. In addition to the presence of a weapon, causing injury is another criterion that can be used to classify the different levels of physical assault and sexual assault under the Criminal Code.

Nearly two-thirds of victims reported being affected emotionally

Nearly two-thirds of the victims (63%) reported having been affected emotionally by the incident. This proportion was somewhat higher for household crime (68%) than it was for theft of personal property (58%).Note 12

The most common emotional reactions included feeling angry (26%), upset, confused or frustrated (21%), annoyed (8%E) or hurt or disappointed (8%E) (Chart 10).

Chart 10

Description for Chart 10
Chart 10 Emotional consequences, all crimes (except spousal violence), territories, 2014
  percent of victims
Not affected at all 28.44
Not affected much 7.15
Victimized 3.66E
Shock/disbelief 5.89E
More cautious/aware 6.12E
Fearful 6.26E
Hurt/disappointment 7.66E
Annoyed 8.43E
Upset/confused/frustrated 20.79
Angry 26.27
Emotionally affected (total) 62.95
E use with caution
Note:
Respondents were able to give more than one answer.
Source:
Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2014.

A quarter of victims experienced long-term effects

In 2014, victims who said that they had been emotionally affected were asked subsequent questions on the long-term effects of victimization (see Text box 4). Nearly one-quarter (24%) of all victims in the territories reported experiencing at least one of these effects. However, this proportion was higher among violent crime victims (37%) than household crime victims (21%E). Just over 1 victim in 20 reported experiencing at least three of these effects, indicating that post-traumatic stress disorder is suspected (Chart 11).

Chart 11

Description for Chart 11
Chart 11 Long-term effects, all crimes (except spousal violence), territories, 2014
  percent of victims
Experienced at least one long term effect 24.35
Experienced 3 or more long term effects 6.46E
Detached from others and activities 4.97E
Nightmares about the incident 8.98E
Tries not to think about the incident 14.4E
Constantly on guard/watchful/easily startled 16.34
E use with caution
Note:
Respondents were able to give more than one answer.
Source:
Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2014.

Overall, the long-term effect mentioned most often was being on guard and easily startled (16%E). However, among violent crime victims, the effect mentioned most often was trying hard not to think about the incident and going out of their way to avoid situations that reminded them of it (28%E).

More than one in six victims had to take time off from their daily activities due to the incident

As a result of the incident they experienced, some victims were unable to continue their daily activities for at least one day, because they needed to receive care for an injury, recover emotionally, replace stolen property, take legal action or for some other reason. This was the case for 17% of victims in the territories in 2014.

Women (22%) were more likely than men (13%) to be unable to continue their daily activities. The same could be said for Aboriginal people (23%) compared with non-Aboriginal people (12%). Overall, the median time that victims were absent from daily activities was three days, but this increased to seven days for victims of violent crimes.

Six in ten victims suffered financial loss

Financial loss is another consequence that victims often experience. In 2014, 6 in 10 victims (60%) in the territories reported financial losses. Victims of household crime (87%) and of theft of personal property (84%) were the most likely to report losses.

Among those victims who reported losses and who were able to establish the amounts, most (82%) reported losses of under $1,000.

Reporting to police

Reporting to police increased in the territories

In 2009, less than one-third (30%) of criminal incidents in the territories were reported to the police. However, by 2014, this proportion had risen to 36%. By comparison, in the provinces the overall rate of reporting to the police remained relatively stable during the same period.

The increase in reporting in the territories was mainly attributable to a rise in the reporting rate for incidents of household victimization, which increased from 30% in 2009 to 38% in 2014. The rate of reporting violent incidents, which rose from 31% to 42%, also contributed to the overall increase, though the difference from 2009 was not statistically significant. The rate of reporting thefts of personal property remained stable (Table 8 and Chart 12).

Reporting rates varied slightly from one territory to another, without any statistically significant differences.

Chart 12

Description for Chart 12
Chart 12 Incidents reported to the police, by type of crime, territories, 2009 and 2014, percent
  2009 2014†
Violent victimization 31.15E 41.5
Household victimization 29.95** 38.37
Theft of personal property 27.21E 27.17
All crimes (total) 29.87* 35.8
E use with caution
* significantly different from reference category (p < 0.1)
** significantly different from reference category (p < 0.05)
† reference category
Note:
Violent victimization includes sexual assault, robbery and physical assault. Household victimization includes break and enter, theft of motor vehicle (or parts), theft of household property and vandalism.
Source:
Statistics Canada, General Social Survey, 2009 and 2014.

Most incidents not reported to the police were considered by the victim as being too minor to report

Several reasons can lead a person to decide whether to report a criminal incident to the police. In the GSS, respondents who did not report an incident were asked about their reasons for not doing so.

The most common reason cited (78%) for not reporting an incident to the police in the territories was that it was too minor to be worth reporting. This proportion was lower in Nunavut (70%), though it was still the most frequently cited reason by victims in that territory (Table 9).

The other most common reasons were that the police would not consider the incident important enough (68%), that it was a personal matter (50%), that no one was harmed or there was no financial loss (49%), that there was a lack of evidence (47%) or that they would not be able to find the property or identify the offender (46%).

Conversely, the most common reasons cited for reporting to police was because of a sense of duty (61%), to arrest and punish the offender (45%) or to receive protection or stop the incident (43%).Note 13

Few victims in the territories used victim services

Very few victims made use of formal victim services, such as shelters, crisis centres, help lines, support programs for victims or those who have witnessed criminal acts or social workers. Victims made use of this type of service in only 5%E of cases.

The most common reasons cited by victims for not using formal victim services was that they thought they didn’t need or didn’t want help (61%), the incident was too minor (23%), they didn’t know about any of these services (5%E) or because none were available (4%E).Note 14

Conversely, the majority (92%) of victims confided in someone, most often a friend or neighbour (72%), family member (70%) or colleague (47%).

Perception of safety, crime and the justice system

Most residents of the territories satisfied with their personal safety from crime

In addition to the study of victims, the 2014 GSS looked at perceptions of personal safety among the residents in the territories, whether or not they had been the victim of a crime. Overall, the majority (87%) of residents reported that they were either very satisfied or satisfied with their personal safety from crime, while 4% reported that they were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. Yukon residents were slightly more likely to report being very satisfied with their personal safety from crime when compared with Nunavut residents (38% and 31%, respectively) (Table 10).

Research has found that women report a greater fear of victimization relative to men, usually stemming from feelings of vulnerability (Ambrey et al. 2014; Snedker 2015). The 2014 GSS asked respondents about their feelings of safety in specific situations, such as when walking alone at night.

The results show even greater differences between females and males when asked those specific questions. For example, about one-third (34%) of females residing in the territories reported feeling very safe walking alone at night, compared with almost two-thirds (62%) of males. Of note, when respondents were asked about their overall satisfaction with their personal safety, 90% of males reported being satisfied with their personal safety, compared to 83% of females.

Those victimized during childhood were less likely to report being satisfied with their personal safety

Research has shown a relationship between childhood abuse and long-term adverse consequences for victims, such as lower feelings of safety (Cashmore and Shackel 2013; Desai et al. 2002; Walsh et al. 2010). Results from the 2014 GSS are in line with these studies, especially with regard to satisfaction with personal safety from crime. People in the territories who had been victimized during childhood were less likely to report feeling very satisfied with their personal safety (28%) compared to those who had not been victimized during childhood (38%).

When asked about their perception of how well their local police were doing in ensuring the safety of citizens in their area, those who had been both physically and sexually victimized during childhood were more likely than those who had not been victimized to report that their local police were doing a poor job (17% and 7%, respectively).

Aboriginal residents in the territories less satisfied with their personal safety from crime

Overall, Aboriginal people living in the territories were somewhat less likely than non-Aboriginal people to report feeling very satisfied with their personal safety from crime (31% and 36%, respectively).Note 15 This difference was the largest for Yukon residents, with 28% of Aboriginal people reporting feeling very satisfied with their personal safety from crime compared to 42% of non-Aboriginal people.

Some research has found that a weaker sense of belonging to the community is associated with increased fear of victimization (Mason et al. 2013). However, this did not appear to be the case in the territories, where Aboriginal people were more likely to report a very strong sense of belonging to their local community in comparison to non-Aboriginal people (40% compared to 24%, respectively).

Despite reporting lower feelings of safety and higher rates of victimization (Perreault 2015; Perreault 2011; Brennan 2011), Aboriginal people in the territories were less likely than non-Aboriginal people to think that crime was higher in their neighbourhood than elsewhere in Canada (6% compared to 10%). This was particularly true in Nunavut, where 8% of Aboriginal people thought crime in their neighbourhood was higher than elsewhere in Canada, compared to 47% of non-Aboriginal people.

Majority of territorial residents believed crime in their community was lower than elsewhere in Canada

Neighbourhood characteristics may play a role in shaping residents’ perceptions of crime (Wu et al. 2009). Respondents to the 2014 GSS were asked a series of questions about the characteristics of their community, including whether they thought that crime in their community was higher or lower than other communities in Canada, whether they thought that their neighbours would call the police if they witnessed criminal behaviour, their level of trust in their neighbours, and their sense of belonging to their local community.

There were some differences in the perception of neighbourhood crime across the territories. Three-quarters of residents of Yukon thought crime was lower in their community than elsewhere in Canada, a proportion similar to that observed in the provinces (74%) but higher than that recorded in Nunavut (53%) (Table 10).

Respondents who reported that they thought their community had a higher amount of crime than elsewhere in Canada were less likely to report feeling very safe when walking alone at night compared to respondents who thought that their community had a lower amount of crime (18%E versus 55%).

Half of Nunavut residents report signs of social disorder in their community

Fear of victimization can be linked to residents’ perceptions of social disorder in their communities (Ross and Jang 2000). Respondents to the 2014 GSS were asked a series of questions about their perception of social disorder in their community. Overall, 41% of residents of the territories reported that at least one type of social disorder was a big or moderate problem in their neighbourhood. More specifically, residents of Nunavut were the most likely to report at least one sign of social disorder, while residents of Yukon were the least likely (50% versus 28%, respectively) (Table 10).

Of the seven types of social disorder measured by the GSS, the most commonly reported by territorial residents included: people being drunk or rowdy in public places (26%), people dealing or using drugs (22%), garbage or litter lying around (16%) and vandalism, graffiti and other deliberate damage to property or vehicles (15%).

Confidence in the police increased since 2009

As part of the 2014 GSS, respondents were asked a series of questions about their confidence in the criminal justice system, such as the police or the criminal courts.

Overall, 83% of territorial residents reported having confidence in their local police, up from 71% in 2009. More precisely over one-third (36%) reported having a great deal of confidence, up from 22% in 2009, and 46% reported having some confidence (Table 11).

The largest increases were found in Yukon, where 85% reported having confidence in their police in 2014, compared to 69% in 2009, and in the Northwest Territories (85% compared to 74%). Residents of Nunavut were the least likely to report having confidence in their local police (76% compared to 85% in both Yukon and the Northwest Territories).Note 16

In addition to the question on overall confidence in the police, the GSS on victimization also asked Canadians whether they believe their local police are doing a good job, an average job, or a poor job at a number of specific activities. In general, most people in the territories thought their police were doing a good or average job. This was particularly true for being approachable and easy to talk to, where 64% of residents thought their police were doing a good job and 22% thought they were doing an average job.

However, 17% thought their local police were doing a poor job at informing the public on prevention and 16% thought local police were doing a poor job at promptly responding to calls. In addition, 12% of residents in Canada’s territories reported that they thought their local police were doing a poor job in treating people fairly, down from 15% in 2009.

Confidence in police lower among Aboriginal people

In general, Aboriginal people in the territories were less likely to have positive opinions of their local police. For example, those who identified as being Aboriginal were less likely to report having a great deal of confidence in the police compared to those who did not identify as being Aboriginal (30% compared with 43%, respectively).

Moreover, less than half (49%) of Aboriginal people thought that the police were doing a good job of treating people fairly, compared with 56% of non-Aboriginal people. Similar differences were found with respect to the enforcing of laws, promptly responding to calls, being approachable and easy to talk to, and ensuring the safety of the citizens in the neighbourhood (Table 11).

In the past, it has been found that people who have had, for any reason, a contact with the police tended to have a more negative perception of police (Perreault and Hotton Mahoney 2012). Overall, 43% of Aboriginal people in the territories reported that they had, for one reason or another, contact with the police in the preceding 12 months. This proportion was similar among non-Aboriginal people living in the territories (40 %).

Compared to their non-Aboriginal counterparts, Aboriginal people in the territories were more likely to report having had contact with the police for being arrested or for problems with their emotions, mental health or alcohol or drug use or for a family member’s experiences with these issues (19% compared to 3%).

Summary

For many years, police data have indicated that police-reported crime is higher in the territories than in the provinces. Data from the 2014 GSS on victimization, which include crimes reported to the police as well as unreported crimes also shows higher victimization rates in the territories.

Nonetheless, victimization rates in the territories fell between 2009 and 2014, with a 29% decrease in violent victimization and a 34% decrease in household victimization. These decreases were mainly attributable to the decreases recorded in Yukon, the territory that also recorded the lowest victimization rates in 2014. However, contrary to what was observed in the provinces, where the rate of spousal violence dropped from 6% in 2009 to 4% in 2014, the spousal violence rate in the territories remained relatively stable during this time period.

Despite relatively high victimization rates, most residents of the territories reported being satisfied with their personal safety and generally had a positive opinion of their police service. As well, the rate of reporting to the police recorded in 2014 (36%) was higher than the rate observed in 2009 (30%).

Survey description

In 2014, Statistics Canada conducted the victimization cycle of the General Social Survey (GSS) for the sixth time in the provinces. Previous cycles were conducted in 1988, 1993, 1999, 2004 and 2009. The purpose of the survey is to provide data on Canadians’ personal experiences with eight offences, examine the risk factors associated with victimization, examine rates of reporting to the police, assess the nature and extent of spousal violence, measure fear of crime, and examine public perceptions of crime and the criminal justice system.

The 2014 survey on victimization was also conducted in Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut using a different sampling design. The GSS on victimization was also conducted in the territories in 2009 and was preceded by test collections in 1999 and 2004.

The target population included all persons 15 years and older in the three territories, excluding full-time residents of institutions. Once a household was contacted, an individual 15 years or older was randomly selected to respond to the survey.

In 2014, the sample size was 2,040 respondents, about twice the number of respondents in 2009 (1,094).

Data collection

Data collection took place from August 2014 to January 2015 inclusively.

The method of collection was a mixture of telephone (CATI) and personal interviews (CAPI). Most cases started as CATI at the regional office and could be transferred to a CAPI-interviewer depending on the community and collection constraints. Respondents were interviewed in the official language of their choice.

Response rates

The overall response rate was 58.7%, up from 50.7% in 2009. Non-respondents included people who refused to participate, could not be reached, or could not speak English or French. Respondents in the sample were weighted so that their responses represent the non-institutionalized territories population aged 15 and older.

Data limitations

As with any household survey, there are some data limitations. The results are based on a sample and are therefore subject to sampling errors. Somewhat different results might have been obtained if the entire population had been surveyed. This article uses the coefficient of variation (CV) as a measure of the sampling error. Estimates with a high CV (over 33.3%) were not published because they were too unreliable. In these cases, the symbol “F” is used in place of an estimate in the figures and data tables. Estimates with a CV between 16.6 and 33.3 should be used with caution and the symbol “E” is used. Where descriptive statistics and cross-tabular analyses were used, statistically significant differences were determined using 95% and 90% confidence intervals.

Detailed data tables

Table 1 Victimization incidents, by type of offence and territory, 2009 and 2014

Table 2 Victimization incidents, by selected community, territories, 2014

Table 3 Violent victimization incidents, by selected victim's sociodemographic characteristics and territory, 2014

Table 4 Violent victimization incidents, by selected health, lifestyle and dwelling characteristics and territory, 2014

Table 5 Household victimization incidents, by selected household and neighbourhood characteristics and territory, 2014

Table 6 Spousal violence victims, by selected characteristics, territories, 2014

Table 7 Characteristics of violent victimization incidents, by territory, 2014

Table 8 Victimization incidents, by reporting to police and territory, 2009 and 2014

Table 9 Reasons for not reporting victimization incidents to the police, by territory, 2014

Table 10 Perceptions of safety, crime and neighbourhood, by gender and territory, 2014

Table 11 Perceptions of local police and criminal courts, by Aboriginal identity and territory, 2014

Model 1 Logistic regression: risk of violent victimization, by selected characteristics, territories, 2014

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