Issue 18-12: Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2016

January 17, 2018

Self-reported Stalking

Stalking is defined as “repeated and unwanted attention that causes a person to fear for their personal safety or for the safety of someone they know”. The definition excludes verbal threats of physical violence and physical violence itself.  

Stalking victimization in B.C. decreased by four percentage points between 2004 and 2014, one of the largest declines among provinces. Findings from the 2014 General Social Survey (GSS) show that about 215 thousand British Columbians, or approximately five percent of the B.C. population aged 15 years and older, reported being stalked in the five years preceding the survey. About seven percent of women and four percent of men aged 15 years and over reported having been stalked.

Even though the prevalence of stalking is somewhat similar among provinces, B.C.’s stalking prevalence is the second lowest in the country, behind Newfoundland and Labrador (four percent) and tied with Prince Edward Island at five percent. B.C.’s victimization rate was also below the Canadian average (six percent) in 2014 for both female (eight percent) and male (five percent) stalking victims.

Police‑reported Family Violence

B.C. had the third lowest rate of police-reported family violence among provinces (199 per 100,000 persons) in 2016, well below the Canadian average of 239 per 100,000 persons. As in every other province and territory, the incidence of family violence is higher for females (268 per 100,000 persons) than for males (129 per 100,000 persons).

Between 2015 and 2016 the incidence of police-reported family violence increased in four provinces and all territories. British Columbia saw the second largest decrease in police-reported family violence in that period (‑9 percent). The decline was evenly spread among female and male victims.

About 163 per 100,000 British Columbians were victims of police-reported family physical (155 in 100,000 persons) or sexual (9 in 100,000) assault. The incidence of physical assault and sexual assault for B.C. in 2016 was below the Canadian average of 174 and 12 per 100,000 persons, respectively.

Police-reported family violence is more common outside Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs). Abbotsford‑Mission had a family violence incidence rate of 225 per 100,000 persons in 2016, well above the provincial average (199 per 100,000 persons). Vancouver had the lowest incidence of family violence among B.C. CMAs (137 per 100,000 persons) followed by Victoria (159 per 100,000 persons). Although Kelowna’s family violence prevalence (193 per 100,000 persons) was close to the provincial average, it was above the average national prevalence of family violence among Canada’s CMAs of 187 per 100,000 persons.

Police-reported Intimate Partner Violence

B.C. had the third lowest level of incidence of police-reported intimate partner violence in 2016 at 284 per 100,000 persons, behind Ontario (224 per 100,000 persons) and Prince Edward Island (240 per 100,000 persons).

As in the rest of Canada, intimate partner violence was substantially more prevalent among women in B.C. Women (443 per 100,000 persons) were almost four times more likely than men (122 per 100,000 persons) to be victims of intimate partner violence. However, the prevalence of intimate partner violence in B.C. is below the Canadian average of 310 per 100,000 persons for both males (133 per 100,000 persons) and females (483 per 100,000 persons).

Among B.C.’s CMAs, intimate partner violence was highest in Abbotsford-Mission (332 per 100,000 persons). Vancouver (204 per 100,000 persons), Victoria (250 per 100,000 persons) and Kelowna (267 per 100,000 persons) all had rates below the provincial average. The intimate partner victimization rates for males were below the provincial average for all CMAs, with the exception of Kelowna (139 per 100,000 persons). Victimization rates for females were below the provincial average in all CMAs except Abbotsford-Mission.

Abbotsford-Mission saw the largest difference in domestic partners victimization rates of females and males among all Canadian CMAs (575 female victims versus 89 male victims per 100,000), while Kelowna saw the smallest (390 female victims versus 139 male victims per 100,000). Vancouver was the only CMA in B.C. with prevalence of intimate partner violence below the average for all Canadian CMAs (247 per 100,000 persons).

Police-reported Family Violence Against Children and Youth (0 to 17 Years)

B.C. had the second lowest incidence of police-reported family violence against children and youth in 2016 (165 per 100,000 persons) behind only Ontario (160 per 100,000 persons) and well below the national average of 233 per 100,000 persons.

As with intimate partner violence, most of the victims were female. Around 854 females between 0 and 17 years of age were victims of family violence in 2016 (208 per 100,000 persons), around 57 percent higher than the 545 male victims (125 per 100,000 persons). Notably, B.C. had the lowest incidence of family violence against male children and youth among all provinces in 2016.

Among B.C.’s CMAs, Victoria had the largest rate of family violence against children and youth (184 per 100,000 persons). Vancouver (119 per 100,000 persons), Kelowna (147 per 100,000 persons) and Abbotsford‑Mission (169 per 100,000 persons) had lower prevalence of family violence against children and youth than the average for all Canadian CMAs (178 per 100,000 persons).

Police-reported Family Violence Against Seniors (65 Years and Older)

Family violence against seniors is less prevalent than other types of family violence. Four hundred and seventy British Columbian seniors were victims of family violence in 2016 (58 per 100,000 persons).

In B.C., family violence against seniors was more common among females (69 per 100,000 persons) than males (47 per 100,000 persons). However, unlike other types of family violence, not all provinces had a higher incidence among females. In P.E.I. for example, family violence against male seniors (56 per 100,000 persons) was more than double that against females (21 per 100,000 persons).

Although B.C.’s prevalence of family violence against seniors was below the Canadian average (58 versus 62 per 100,000 persons), violence against female seniors was slightly above (69 versus 67 per 100,000 persons) the national average.

Victoria had the largest rate of senior victimization (60 per 100,000 persons) among B.C. CMAs. Prevalence rates in Vancouver, Abbotsford-Mission (54 per 100,000 persons each) and Kelowna (46 per 100,000 persons) were slightly below the provincial average.

Data Source: Statistics Canada