Gender-based violence, sexual assault, and domestic violence
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Gender-based violence (GBV) is violence that is committed against someone based on their gender identity, gender expression, or perceived gender. It can be physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual in nature. GBV disproportionately impacts women and girls, Indigenous peoples, and other diverse populations.
Indigenous women and girls face increased vulnerability to GBV as a result of specific barriers to safety; they report experiencing violent victimizations at a rate 2.7 times higher than that reported by non-Indigenous women and girls.
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Sexual Assault and Sexual Exploitation
- In 2021, there were 34,242 police-related sexual assaults in Canada, an 18% increase since 2020, and the highest rate recorded since 1996.4
- According to the 2019 General Social Survey, the rate of violent victimization was nearly twice as high among women than men. This difference was driven entirely by sexual assault, the rate of which was more than fives times higher among women than men.2
- Only 6% of sexual assault incidents experienced by Canadians aged 15 and older in the previous 12 months were brought to the attention of police.2
- Youth aged 12 to 17 constitute the majority of victims of online child sexual offences, and victims are usually girls.3
- Nearly half of the youth victims of non-consensual distribution of intimate images have been victimized by an intimate partner (28%) or friend (21%).3
- One in four victims of police-related violence are victimized by a family member.4
- According to the 2019 General Social Survey on Victimization, one third (33%) of spousal violence victims were physically injured, including 39% of women and 23% of men.5
- Over four in ten women living in remote areas who experienced intimate partner violence in the past year said it happened daily, weekly, or monthly.6
- Indigenous Peoples were more than twice as likely to experience intimate partner violence than non-Indigenous Canadians.5
- Women were three times more likely to have been victimized by an intimate partner than men (42% versus 13%).7
- The large majority (80%) of intimate partner violence victims said they didn't report it to the police.5
Where to Get Help
- VictimLink BC
- Youth Against Violence Line
- SAIL - Seniors Abuse and Information Line
- Victim Services & Violence Against Women Program Directory
- Ending Violence Association of BC Program Directory
- BC Society of Transition Houses Program Directory
- Police Victim Services of British Columbia Program Directory
- Indigenous Organizations & Services Directory
- BC Housing for Women Fleeing Violence
- Crime Victim Assistance Program
- Victim Safety Unit
How to Help
- What Bystanders Can Do
- Coming Forward If You Witnessed A Crime
- Family Member or Friend of a Victim
- How Can I Help My Friend?
- Reporting Child Abuse in BC
Information and Other Resources
- Am I safe?
- Are you being abused?
- Are you experiencing abuse?
- Creating a Safety Plan
- Types of Violence and Abuse
- Dispelling Myths About Sexual Assault
- Third Party Reporting for Victims of Sexual Offences
- BC Association of Friendship Centres
- Moose Hide Campaign
- FREDA Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children
- Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative
- Resources for LGBTQ2S and non-binary survivors of violence
- Disability Alliance of BC’s Anti-Violence Help Sheets to help People with Disabilities
- Knowledge Exchange Toolkit
1 Moreau, G. (2022). Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2021.
2 Cotter, A. (2021). Criminal victimization in Canada, 2019 .
4 Conroy, S. (2021). Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile, 2019.
6 Burczycka, M. (2022). Women’s experiences of victimization in Canada’s remote communities.
7 Conroy, S. and Sutton, D. (2022). Violence against seniors and their perceptions of safety in Canada .