While violence affects people of all genders, ages, cultures, ethnicities, geographic locations, and socio-economic backgrounds, some populations are more at risk of experiencing violence, which could include women and girls, Indigenous people, LGBTQ and gender non-conforming people, those living in northern, rural, and remote communities, people with disabilities, newcomers, children and youth, and seniors.
However, the negative impacts of gender-based violence (GBV) reach far beyond any specific populations. While GBV can significantly influence the health, social and economic conditions of the individuals who directly experience it, it can also have long-lasting and negative results for family members, friends, and entire communities. And because GBV prevents individuals from reaching their full potential, we all lose.
GBV is linked to sexist attitudes and behaviours. It is made worse by other forms of discrimination such as racism, ableism, classism, homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.
Discrimination, prejudice and intolerance can also make it hard for survivors from diverse populations to access appropriate support and services.
The risk of facing violence varies by population:
In 2014, women self-reported slightly more than 1.2 million violent victimization incidents, representing 56% of all violent incidents.Footnote 1
Women have a 20% higher risk of being victimized than men.Footnote 2
Young women, aged 15-34 years, have the highest risk of experiencing violence.Footnote 3 In 2014, young women reported experiences were nearly 1.9 times more likely to experience violence than young men.Footnote 4
Indigenous women experienced violence at a rate 2.7 times higher than that reported by non-Indigenous women. Footnote 5
Indigenous women are more than three times as likely as non-Indigenous women to report spousal violence (10% vs. 3%).Footnote 6 Being Indigenous is a key risk factor on its own for experiencing violence.Footnote 7
Gay, lesbian or bisexual individuals are three times more likely than heterosexuals to report experiencing violence.Footnote 8
Transgendered people are nearly twice as likely as cisgendered women to experience intimate partner violence in their lifetimes.Footnote 9
Women living with physical and/or cognitive impairments are two to three times more likely to experience violence than women living without such impairments.Footnote 10
Senior women are 24% more likely than senior men to face family violence.Footnote 11
Women living in the territories experience violence at a rate eight times higher than women living in the provinces.Footnote 12 Their risk of experiencing violence is 45% higher than men in their communities. Remote and isolated communitiesFootnote 13 also face particular challenges related to accessing support.
The majority of incidents of GBV are not reported to police. For example, in 2014, just 5% of sexual assault survivors reported the incident to police.Footnote 14 Survivors have many reasons for not reporting violence. This includes, but is not limited to, feeling that the incident was a personal matter; view that the offender would not be convicted or adequately punished; not wanting others to know; fear of revenge; not wanting to bring shame or dishonour to family members; a lack of confidence in police or the justice system; being dependent financially on the perpetrator; fear of having their children taken from them; and fear of deportation (in the case of immigrant women)Footnote 15Footnote 16