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This is largely due to the increased presence of offenders and the absence of other people who could act as defenders Franklin et al. Similar to substance use, women who reported frequent evening activity had an even higher rate of sexual assault. Among those who reported going out in the evenings 21 times or more per month, the rate of sexual assault among women was about 12 times higher than among men 97 versus 8 E per 1, population.

Overall, Canadians who had experienced either type of childhood abuse reported a rate of sexual assault that was over two times higher than those who had not experienced abuse during childhood 36 versus 15 per 1, population Table 4. This difference was more pronounced among those who had experienced childhood sexual abuse as those individuals had a rate that was about four times higher than those who had not been abused in this way 70 E versus 17 per 1, population.

It Happens Every Day: Inside the World of a Sex Crimes DA

Looking at it differently, among those who had experienced either type of abuse during childhood, the rate of sexual assault was over six times higher among women than men 65 versus 10 E per 1, population. Another life experience associated with higher rates of sexual assault was homelessness. This included individuals who had lived in a shelter, on the street or in an abandoned building, and those who had experienced hidden or concealed homelessness—for example, that they had lived with family or friends, or in a car because they had nowhere else to live.

Experience with stalking—repeated and unwanted attention that caused fear for personal safety or the safety of someone else—was also linked to higher rates of sexual assault. Among Canadians who were victims of stalking in the 12 months that preceded the survey, the rate of sexual assault was nearly 11 times higher than among those who were not stalked E versus 17 per 1, population. Women who had been stalked in the 12 months that preceded the survey had a rate that was over eight times higher than women who were not stalked E versus 29 per 1, population. In addition to stalking experiences in the 12 months that preceded the survey, the GSS on Victimization also asked detailed questions about stalking in the five years that preceded the survey.

Overall, those who had experienced stalking during that time period reported a rate of sexual assault that was nearly seven times higher than those who were not stalked E versus 15 per 1, population. This difference was greater for specific types of stalking. However, it is not possible to determine from the GSS on Victimization if the stalker and the sexual assault offender were the same individual.

After controlling for other factors, certain characteristics and experiences increased the risk of sexual assault, while others did not. It should be noted that certain factors are closely associated to others—such as age, student status and evening activities outside the home—and the combination of certain factors may have contributed to higher rates of self-reported sexual assault. In order to account for this, the analysis included regression models and the results are presented in this section.

A full list of factors that were included for analysis are detailed in Model 1 and Model 2. After controlling for individual characteristics only Model 1 , a large difference in the risk of sexual assault remained between women and men: all else being equal, women were over six times more likely to be sexually assaulted than men. The risk of sexual assault was impacted by marital status.

Individuals who were single were about four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than those who were married or common-law. Age also had an impact: individuals aged 15 to 24 were over three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than those aged 35 and older. Aboriginal identity also significantly impacted the risk of sexual assault after controlling for other factors.

Individuals who identified as Aboriginal were over two times more likely to be sexually assaulted than those who were non-Aboriginal. A second model Model 2 was created to control for the same characteristics as Model 1 , as well as experiences of childhood abuse and homelessness, and evening activities outside the home. All characteristics that significantly increased the risk of sexual assault in Model 1 remained significant in Model 2, with one exception: Aboriginal identity did not increase the risk of sexual assault when the new factors were introduced.

This change may be attributed to—for instance—the increased proportion of Aboriginal people who experience childhood abuse and homelessness. Individuals who had experienced childhood abuse before age 15 were about two times more likely to be sexually assaulted than those who had not. The same difference was noted between those who had experienced homelessness and those who had not. A third model was created to control for the same characteristics in Model 1 , in addition to sexual orientation, for Canadians aged 18 and older.

The UCR measures crime that has both come to the attention of the police and has been substantiated by the police. Research has shown, however, that most incidents of sexual assault are not reported to the police and are therefore not captured by the UCR. For this reason, self-reported information collected by the General Social Survey GSS on Victimization provides further insight into the nature and extent of sexual assault in Canada.

In , according to the UCR, there were 20, victims of police-reported sexual assault. The police-reported data outlined above represent incidents of sexual assault that were reported by the police on the UCR after it was determined through investigation that a violation of the law occurred.

It Happens Every Day: Inside the World of a Sex Crimes D. A. by Sax, Robin

Since , information on unfounded incidents has not been collected by Statistics Canada through the UCR, and unfounded incidents of sexual assault are not reflected in the numbers above. Statistics Canada collected data on unfounded incidents beginning in with the introduction of the UCR. Over time, inconsistent reporting led to poor data quality. A review conducted in found that reporting of unfounded incidents was incomplete and Statistics Canada stopped publishing this information Statistics Canada POLIS further recommended the adoption of a common approach to be taken by police services for the classification and reporting of unfounded incidents.

As a result, Statistics Canada will provide standards and guidelines to police services to ensure standardized reporting of unfounded incidents to the UCR. The implementation of these changes will be phased in over time. In July , Statistics Canada will publish the first set of results on unfounded incidents for , including sexual assault.

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The GSS on Victimization asked questions on perceptions of safety in a general sense and not in connection to experiences of victimization; therefore, results among victims in this section may not be a direct outcome of the sexual assault they experienced. Victims of sexual assault often had negative perceptions of their neighbourhood, lower trust in others and less confidence in the police compared to those who were not sexually assaulted. Victims were also less satisfied with their personal safety from crime and were more likely to take safety precautions.


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Victims of sexual assault had lower levels of trust in others. In addition to lower levels of trust in others, victims of sexual assault also reported lower levels of confidence in the police and were less satisfied with their personal safety from crime. Victims of sexual assault were, in general, less satisfied with their personal safety from crime. Victims of sexual assault were less likely to report that they feel safe in specific situations Chart 3.

In addition to different perceptions of safety, victims of sexual assault more commonly reported taking safety precautions in the past compared to those who were not sexually assaulted. This article thus far includes information on all victims of self-reported sexual assault, including incidents perpetrated by a friend, acquaintance or neighbour, a stranger or a spouse. The next three sections, however, focus on incidents of sexual assault perpetrated by someone other than a spouse as information pertaining to spousal violence—including sexual assault—is collected using a different methodology.

Sexual assault offenders were often known to their victims. For the first time, the cycle of the General Social Survey GSS on Victimization included questions on experiences of emotional, physical and sexual violence in the context of dating relationships. Those who were not in a spousal or common-law relationship at the time, or who were in a spousal or common-law relationship of fewer than five years, were asked about experiences of violence perpetrated by someone they were dating.

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However, a considerable difference was noted depending on the sex of the victim. Similar to sexual assault victims, those identified as offenders were often young. Victims and offenders of sexual assault were often in the same age group. Similar to victims of sexual assault, victims of physical assault were often in the same age group as offenders. As previously mentioned, this section provides information on incidents of sexual assault perpetrated by someone other than a spouse as information pertaining to spousal violence—including sexual assault—is collected using a different methodology.

The impact of violent crime on victims is not limited to physical injury, nor is physical injury the primary indicator of sexual assault. Research has shown that sexual assault can have a profound psychological impact on victims Chen and Ullman ; Cybulska ; Elliot et al. The GSS on Victimization asked about physical injury, such as bruises, cuts and broken bones resulting from sexual assault, as well as emotional consequences. Sexual assault resulted in negative emotional consequences for many victims.

Certain longer-term emotional consequences have been identified as possible signs of PTSD see Text box 5. Based on the Primary Care Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder screening tool, responses of 'yes' to three or more of the four questions indicate that a victim or patient may require further assessment for a possible diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. Research has shown that victims of violence may experience post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD following physical or psychological trauma Burczycka and Ibrahim ; Logie et al.

PTSD is characterized by feelings of detachment, being constantly on guard, nightmares and avoidance behaviours. Further, PTSD has been associated with impaired physical health Cybulska , decreased quality of life and increased mortality Luce et al.

To measure longer-term impacts of victimization, the GSS on Victimization asked the following questions:. Importantly, while these questions from the PC-PTSD screening tool cannot diagnose PTSD, they are used in frontline settings to determine whether victims or patients should be referred for further assessment and possible diagnosis Burczycka and Ibrahim ; Prins et al.

Further evaluation would be required to determine a PTSD diagnosis. Research has widely documented that sexual assault is an underreported crime Brennan and Taylor-Butts ; Kaufman ; Luce et al. Victims of sexual assault who did not report the incident to the police were asked why they did not do so. In general, women and men provided similar reasons for not reporting incidents of sexual assault to the police. While many victims of sexual assault did not report the incident to the police because they did not want others to find out about it, many did speak with someone. The corresponding proportion of men who were victims is too unreliable to be published; however, research suggests that men are less likely to seek support after sexual assault.


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This type of victimization may destabilize the self-identity and sexual identity of victims who are men Elliot et al. In , there were 22 incidents of sexual assault for every 1, Canadians aged 15 and older, similar to Some groups had a higher risk of sexual assault: those who were women, young, Aboriginal, single, and homosexual or bisexual, and those who had poorer mental health.


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Certain experiences—childhood abuse and homelessness—and evening activities outside the home were also associated with an increased risk of sexual assault. Students had higher rates of sexual assault, as did individuals with mental or physical disabilities. These victim characteristics, however, did not have a significant impact on the risk of sexual assault when other factors were controlled. It should be noted that certain factors are closely associated to others—such as age, student status and evening activities outside the home—and the combination of factors may have contributed to higher rates of sexual assault.

Victims of sexual assault often had negative perceptions of their neighbourhood, lower levels of trust in others and less confidence in the police. They were also less satisfied with their personal safety from crime and less likely to feel safe in certain situations. One in four victims of sexual assault reported that they had difficulty carrying out everyday activities because of the incident, and one in six reported experiencing three or more longer-term emotional consequences, indicating the possibility of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The proportion of sexual assault incidents that was reported to the police one in twenty also remained unchanged from a decade earlier. The most common reasons for not reporting were that the victim perceived the crime as minor and not worth taking the time to report, that the incident was a private or personal matter and it was handled informally, and that no one was harmed during the incident. Previous cycles were conducted in , , , and The GSS on Victimization was also conducted in the territories in and was preceded by test collections in and In , comparisons between the data from the territories and the provinces were to be made with caution primarily because the Inuit population was underrepresented in the territories.

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