Gender-based violence, sexual assault, and domestic violence

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

Domestic Violence

  • 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


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Information and Other Resources


1 Moreau, G. (2022).  Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2021.

2 Cotter, A. (2021).  Criminal victimization in Canada, 2019 .

Ibrahim, D. (2022).  Online child sexual exploitation and abuse in Canada: A statistical profile of police-reported incidents and court charges, 2014 to 2020 .

4 Conroy, S. (2021).  Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile, 2019.

5 Conroy, S. (2021).  Spousal violence in Canada, 2019.

Burczycka, M. (2022).  Women’s experiences of victimization in Canada’s remote communities

Conroy, S. and Sutton, D. (2022).  Violence against seniors and their perceptions of safety in Canada