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A profile of Canada’s shelters for abused women

  1. In 2008, there were 569 shelters across Canada providing residential services to women and children escaping abusive situations.
  2. Transition homes (47%), providing short- to moderate-term housing, and emergency-type facilities (26%) made up the majority of shelters in Canada.
  3. Prince Edward Island had the greatest number of shelters per capita at 14 per 100,000 married, common-law and separated women, followed by New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba.
  4. While 57% of shelters serve a suburban or urban population exclusively, 4% are exclusively village or rural-area facilities (this includes rural shelters serving reserves).
  5. In addition to housing, the services most commonly offered to residents were transportation, short-term counselling, advocacy, safety or protection planning and housing referral, each provided by about 9 in 10 shelters.
  6. About three-quarters of facilities offered services for children accompanying their mother to shelters.
  7. About two-thirds of facilities provided former and non-residents with services such as crisis telephone lines, safety or protection planning, individual short-term counselling and advocacy.

Police-reported spousal violence in Canada

  1. In 2007, nearly 40,200 incidents of spousal violence (i.e., violence against legally married, common-law, separated and divorced partners) were reported to police. This represents about 12% of all police-reported violent crime in Canada.
  2. Police-reported spousal violence has steadily declined over the past 10 years, decreasing 15% between 1998 and 2007.
  3. The majority of victims of spousal violence continue to be females, accounting for 83% of victims.
  4. Spousal violence is twice as common between current partners (legally married or common-law) as ex-partners.
  5. Accounting for nearly two-thirds of offences, common assault was the most frequent type of spousal violence according to police-reported data, followed by major assault, uttering threats and criminal harassment or stalking.
  6. Police laid charges in more than three-quarters of spousal violence incidents reported in 2007. Incidents involving female victims were more likely to result in charges being laid than those involving male victims.

Police-reported family violence against children and youth

  1. Police-reported data for 2007 indicate that children and youth under the age of 18 were most likely to be physically or sexually assaulted by someone they know (85% of incidents).
  2. Nearly 53,400 children and youth were the victims of a police-reported assault in 2007, with about 3 in 10 incidents of assaults against children and youth perpetrated by a family member.
  3. When children and youth were victims of family violence, a parent was identified as the abuser in nearly 6 in 10 incidents.
  4. Girls under the age of 18 reported higher rates of both physical and sexual assault by a family member than boys. In 2007, the rate of family-perpetrated sexual assault was more than 4 times higher for girls than for boys.
  5. Male family members were identified as the accused in a sizable majority of family-related sexual (96%) and physical assaults (71%) against children and youth.

Police-reported family violence against older adults

  1. In 2007, 1,938 incidents of family violence against seniors were reported to police, representing more than one-third of all violent incidents committed against older adults.
  2. The rate of family violence for seniors (48 per 100,000) was much lower than for those in younger age groups. Compared to seniors, the family violence rate was twice as high for adults aged 55 to 64 (104 per 100,000) and was more than 8 times higher among adults aged 25 to 34 (406 per 100,000).
  3. Senior men (163 per 100,000) had a higher overall rate of violent victimization compared to senior women (114 per 100,000). However, senior women had higher rates of violent victimization by a family member (52 per 100,000) compared to senior men (43 per 100,000).
  4. Spouses and adult children were the most common perpetrators of family violence against senior women, while adult children were most often the accused in family violence against senior men.
  5. Just over half of police-reported family violence incidents against seniors were common assaults.
  6. Half of police-reported incidents of family violence against seniors did not result in physical injury. When physical injuries were sustained, the vast majority (91%) were minor.

Family homicides

Spousal homicides

  1. Rates of spousal homicide, which involve persons in legal marriages, those who are separated or divorced from such unions, and those in common-law relationships, declined over the 3 decades from 1978 to 2007. In 2007, the spousal homicide rate of 4 per million spouses was the lowest in over 30 years.
  2. Women continue to be more likely than men to be victims of spousal homicide. In 2007, almost 4 times as many women were killed by a current or former spouse as men.
  3. During the most recent decade, between 1998 and 2007, about 41% of spousal homicides involved common-law partners and more than one-third involved legally married persons.
  4. Spousal homicide rates were highest for persons in the 15 to 24 year-old age group.

Family homicides against children and youth

  1. Homicides of children and youth (under the age of 18) represented about 9% of all homicides in 2007. Most child and youth homicide victims were killed by someone they knew. In 2007, 41% of child and youth homicides were committed by a family member, 27% by someone known to the victim but other than a family member, 20% by strangers and the remaining 13% of child and youth homicides were unsolved.
  2. Parents were the perpetrators in the majority of child and youth homicides committed by family members. Fathers (54%) were more likely than mothers (34%) to be the perpetrators.
  3. Infants under the age of one experienced higher rates of family homicide compared to older children. From 1998 to 2007, baby boys (35 per million population) had somewhat higher rates than baby girls (27 per million population).
  4. In family homicides of infants, half of victims (51%) were killed by their mother and 47% by their father, whereas in family homicides of older children fathers were the most likely perpetrators.

Family homicides against older adults

  1. The overall homicide rate was lower among adults aged 65 years and older (9 per million population) compared to persons under 65 years of age (23 per million population). However, rates of family-perpetrated homicide for seniors (3.8 per million population) and non-seniors (4.5 per million population) were comparable.
  2. Senior female victims killed by a family member were most commonly killed by their spouse (40%) or adult son (36%). In nearly two-thirds of family homicides of senior men, an adult son was the accused killer.
  3. Most often, frustration, anger or despair was the apparent motive for family-perpetrated homicides against seniors. In contrast, financial gain was the most commonly identified reason behind senior homicides committed by non-family members.