Violence Against Women in Newfoundland and Labrador

How violence affects victims depends on other aspects of their lives, such as their age, ethnicity, background, level of ability and sexual orientation, to name only a few.  These multiple dimensions are weaved into all life experiences.  For women, the impact and severity of violence can depend on many physical, social, and economic factors.
(Measuring Violence Against Women Statistical Trends, 2006)

Severity

  • Women experience higher rates than men of sexual assault, stalking, serious spousal assaults and spousal homicide.

Prevalence

  • Of the 217,900 women over the age of 15 residing in Newfoundland and Labrador, approximately 108,950 (1 in 2) will experience at least one incident of sexual or physical violence throughout their lifetime.
  • Approximately only 10% (10,895) of these women will actually report this victimization to police.

Who are the Perpetrators?

  • Women residing in Newfoundland and Labrador are most likely to experience victimization by a spouse or partner (70%), ex-spouse or ex-common-law spouse (9%), relative (7%), and others (5%).
  • Only 5% of women are unable to identify their abuser.

Spousal Violence

  • Between 1999 and 2004, the overall rate of spousal violence against women in Canada declined (a 1% decrease).  Newfoundland and Labrador was the only jurisdiction during this five year period to show an increase in spousal violence against women (a 2% increase).
  • In Newfoundland and Labrador, 43% of spousal violence against women involves physical force and 6% of spousal violence against women involves weapons.
  • Between 1975 and 2004, twice as many women than men in Newfoundland and Labrador were victims of spousal homicide (15 versus 7 respectively).

Admission to Shelters

  • During 2005-2006, there were 1,125 admissions of women and dependent children to shelters in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Approximately 89% of women residing in shelters are victims of violence.  Among these women, approximately 97% are fleeing psychological abuse, 73% physical abuse, 45% harassment, 44% threats, 42% sexual abuse, and 36% financial abuse.
  • Approximately 40% of women escaping violent situations are admitted to shelters with their children.  60% of these children are under the age of 10.

Danger of Leaving a Violent Relationship

  • National data indicate that separation is a particularly dangerous time for women.
  • Although more married women are killed by their spouses, the rate of homicide is greatest for women after separation.
  • Nationally, almost half of the murders committed by ex-spouses happen in the first two months of separation and 80% of murders by ex-spouses happen within one year of separating.
Johnson, H. (2006). Measuring Violence Against Women. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada.
Muzychka, M. (2008). Learning What They Live: The Impact of Witnessing Family Violence on Infants, Children, and Adolescents. St. John’s, NL: Women’s Policy Office.
Ogrodnik, L. (2008). Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2008. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada.
Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. (2008). Victim Age/Gender Analysis. UCR Data for Period 2006-2008.
Statistics Canada. (1993). Violence Against Women Survey. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada.
Taylor-Butts, A. (2007). Canada’s Shelters for Abused Women, 2005/2006. Ottawa: ON: Statistics Canada.


Violence And Sexual Orientation

When violence occurs within the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, attitudes often range from ‘who cares’ to ‘these relationships are generally unstable or unhealthy’.
(Abuse in Same Sex Relationships, 2008)

Prevalence

  • In 2004, gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals reported experiencing higher rates of violent victimization (sexual assault, robbery, and physical assault) than heterosexual individuals.
  • Gay and lesbian individuals experience victimization at a rate 2.5 times higher than heterosexual individuals.
  • The rate of victimization for bisexual individuals is approximately 4 times higher than the rate of victimization for heterosexual individuals.

Spousal Violence

  • Domestic violence in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is a serious issue. The problem, however, remains underreported.
  • 2004 General Social Survey data indicate that gay and lesbian (15%) and bisexual (28%) individuals experience higher levels of spousal violence than heterosexual (7%) individuals.

Long Term Impacts of Sexual Violence

  • Lesbian and bisexual women are often doubly traumatized by the impact of sexual violence due to the fact that they are oppressed both as women and as members of the gay community. Some of the long term social and psychological impacts include:
    • Feelings of fear, guilt, shame, denial, self-blame, anger;
    • Fear of intimacy;
    • Lack of trust;
    • Low self-esteem;
    • Depression;
    • Eating difficulties;
    • Sleep problems;
    • Internal and external injuries.

Discrimination

  • According to the Canadian Human Rights Act, discriminatory behavior includes differential treatment of an individual or group of individuals based on their race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, mental or physical disability or pardoned conviction.
  • 2004 General Social Survey data indicate that a greater proportion of gays and lesbians (44%) and bisexuals (41%) felt that they had experienced some form of discrimination in the past five years. In comparison, only 14% of heterosexual individuals believed that they had experienced some form of discrimination.
  • Gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals were most likely to report this victimization as occurring in the workplace or when applying for a job or a promotion.

Hate Crimes

  • In 2006, approximately 9% of all hate crimes reported to the police were motivated by sexual orientation.
  • Approximately 98% of these hate crimes were committed against homosexual individuals.
  • Of the hate crimes committed against homosexual individuals, approximately 55% were violent crimes and 35% were property crimes.
  • The most common type of violent crime reported by homosexual individuals was common assault.
  • Hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation were more likely than other types of hate crimes to result in physical injury to victims. The vast majority of injuries were minor in nature - only about 1 in 10 incidents resulted in major physical injury to victims.
  • The majority of hate crimes are committed by young males acting alone or in small groups.

Beauchamp, D. (2008). Sexual Orientation and Victimization 2004. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre for
Justice Statistics.
Dauvergne, M., Scrim, K., Brennan, S. (2008). Hate Crime in Canada 2006. Ottawa, ON: Canadian
Centre for Justice Statistics.
Kitchener-Waterloo Sexual Assault Support Centre. (2008). Abuse in Same Sex Relationships.
Kitchener-Waterloo, ON: Sexual Assault Support Centre.
Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centre of Peel. (2008). Sexual Violence Against Lesbian & Bisexual
Women. Peel, ON: METRAC.



Violence Against Women with Disabilities

While a disability can make it more difficult for a woman to escape or report abuse, social attitudes towards persons with disabilities are probably a bigger
factor in her increased vulnerability to violence.

(Public Health Agency of Canada, 1992)

Prevalence

  • Women with disabilities are abused at a much higher rate than women without disabilities.
  • In Canada there are approximately 1,900,000 women aged 15 and over who have disabilities. It is estimated that approximately 40% of these women with disabilities will be assaulted, sexually assaulted or abused throughout their lifetime.
  • Depending on whether they reside within an institutional or community setting, women with disabilities are 1.5 to 10 times more likely to be victimized than women who are not disabled.

Vulnerability to Abuse

  • Women with disabilities are often more vulnerable to abuse than women without disabilities for the following reasons:
    • Dependence upon a caregiver;
    • Lack of access to support services;
    • Due to mobility, cognitive or communication impairments unable flee or call for aid;
    • Low self-esteem stemming from societal myth and social attitudes.

Sexual Violence

  • Approximately 83% of women with disabilities will be sexually abused in their lifetime.
  • The rate of sexual abuse of girls with disabilities is four times greater than the national average.
  • Approximately 40% to 70% of girls with intellectual disabilities will be sexually victimized before the age of 18.
  • It is estimated that only 20% of cases of sexual abuse perpetrated against women with disabilities are ever reported to the police, community service agencies, or other authorities.

Who are the Perpetrators?

  • The vast majority of violence is inflicted by a person known to the victim.
  • Approximately 89% of abusers are male.
  • Women with disabilities most frequently experience victimization from an intimate partner or spouse, family member or caregiver.

METRAC. (2001). Statistics Sheet: Sexual Assault. Toronto, ON: METRAC.
National Clearinghouse on Family Violence. (2004). Violence Against Women with Disabilities. Ottawa,
ON: Government of Canada.
Public Health Agency of Canada. (1992). Family Violence Against Women with Disabilities. Ottawa, ON:
Government of Canada.
The Roads to End Violence. Fact Sheet. Gander, NL: The Roads to End Violence.



Violence Against Aboriginal Women

Aboriginal women have faced historical violence and brutality that still continues today. This abuse affects Aboriginal women physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually.
(Researched to Death: B.C. Aboriginal Women and Violence, 2005)

Prevalence

  • Aboriginal people are three times more likely than non-Aboriginal people to experience violent victimization (319/1,000 versus 101/1,000 respectively).
  • Aboriginal women are 3.5 times more likely than non-Aboriginal women to be victims of violence (343/1,000 versus 96/1,000 respectively).
  • This pattern of violent victimization is similar for Aboriginal men, who are almost three times as likely as non-Aboriginal men to be victims of violence (292/1,000 versus 107/1,000 respectively).
  • Aboriginal people are nearly twice as likely as non-Aboriginal people to be repeat victims of crime.
  • Physical assault is the most frequently reported violent offence by Aboriginal people.

Financial and Social Consequences

  • Aboriginal women experience similar profound financial and social impacts as non-Aboriginal women as a result of male violence. Some of these impacts include:
    • Diminished self-esteem and sense of security;
    • Damage to physical and emotional health;
    • Self-blame;
    • Negative impact on children (fear, insecurity, perpetuation of the cycle of violence);
    • Negative impact on financial security;
    • Loss of matrimonial home and consequently relocation resulting in broken community bonds.

Who are the Perpetrators?

  • Approximately 56% of violent incidents committed against Aboriginal people are perpetrated by someone who is known to the victim.

Spousal Violence

  • Approximately 21% of Aboriginal people, in comparison to 6% of non-Aboriginal people, report experiencing some form of physical or sexual violence by a spouse.
  • Aboriginal women are approximately 3.5 times more likely to experience some form of spousal violence than non-Aboriginal women.
  • Aboriginal women (54%) are more likely than non-Aboriginal women (37%) to report the most severe forms of spousal violence, such as being beaten, choked, threatened with a gun or knife, or sexually assaulted.
  • Emotional abuse by male partners, a major risk factor for spousal violence, is also more frequent for Aboriginal women than non-Aboriginal women.

Sexual Violence

  • Approximately 75% of survivors of sexual assault in Aboriginal communities are young women under 18 years of age.
  • Approximately 50% of these girls are under the age of 14 and approximately 25% are under the age of 7.

Homicide Rates

  • Canadian Aboriginal women between the ages of 25 and 44 are five times more likely than all other Canadian women in the same age group to die as a result of violence.

  • Between 1997 and 2000, the murder rate for non-Aboriginal women was 0.8/100,000. The murder rate for Aboriginal women during this same time period was 5.4/100,000 - almost 7 times higher than that of non-Aboriginal women!

Amnesty International. (2004). Stolen Sisters: Discrimination and Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Amnesty International.
B.C. Government. (2005). Researched to Death: B.C. Aboriginal Women and Violence. B.C. Women’s Hospital and Health Centre.
Brzozowski,J., Taylor-Butts, A., Johnson, S. (2006). Victimization and Offending Among the Aboriginal Population in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.
Ipsos Reid. (2006). Aboriginal Women and Family Violence. Ottawa, ON: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.
METRAC. (2001). Statistics Sheet: Sexual Assault. Toronto, ON: METRAC.
Statistics Canada. (2008). Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Victims of Homicide in Canada, by Sex and Accused-victim Relationship, 1997-2004. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada.
Statistics Canada. (2006). Measuring Violence Against Women Statistical Trends 2006. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada.
The Roads to End Violence. Fact Sheet. Gander, NL: The Roads to End Violence.



Ethnicity and Violence Against Women

“My fear of losing custody of my children, deportation or loss of residency status makes me stay in abusive relationships for years”.
(Connecting Voices, 2007)

Prevalence

  • Significant data gaps exist regarding the prevalence of violence experienced by immigrant and visible minority women.
  • According to General Social Survey data, approximately 11% of immigrant and visible minority women experience emotional or financial violence, and 4% experience physical or sexual violence.

Who are the Perpetrators?

  • Approximately 52% of violent incidents committed against visible minorities are perpetrated by a family member, friend, or acquaintance.
  • Approximately 70% of reported violent incidents committed against visible minorities occur within a public place. Only 24% of reported violent incidents occur within the home.

Social and Economic Barriers

  • Immigrant and refugee women who experience violence face many unique social and economic barriers to accessing services. Some of these barriers include:
    • It is still taboo to discuss violence against women in most immigrant communities;
    • Inability to communicate in Canada’s national languages;
    • Unaware of their rights in Canada;
    • Unaware of how law enforcement and court systems operate;
    • Fear of deportation by immigration authorities if they report violence;
    • Unavailability of interpreters when violence is reported. Often information is gathered by law enforcement officials through conversations with the abusive partner. This may lead to distortions in relevant case information;
    • Unaware that they are eligible for child support and other state financial assistance if they leave the abusive relationship;
    • Lack of social networks which could have a profound impact on self-esteem.

Hate Crime

  • In Canada, race and ethnicity is the most common motivation for committing a hate crime.
  • In 2006, approximately 56% of all hate crimes reported to police were motivated by race and ethnicity.
  • Approximately 81% of these police reported hate crimes were committed against racial and ethnic minorities.
  • Approximately half of these racially motivated hate crimes were property related offences and 38% were violent crimes.

Dauvergne, M., Scrim, K., Brennan, S. (2008). Hate Crime in Canada 2006. Ottawa, ON: Canadian
Centre for Justice Statistics.
Sarma-Debnath, K. (2007). A Second Look at Family Violence: Immigrants and Refugee Women in
Newfoundland and Labrador. Connecting Voices, Newfoundland and Labrador Association of
Social Workers 11(1):18-19.
Smith, E. (2004). Nowhere to Turn?: Responding to Partner Violence Against Immigrant and Visible
Minority Women. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Council on Social Development.
Statistics Canada. (2008). A Profile of Visible Minorities in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada.
Statistics Canada. (2008). Racially-motivated Incidents More Common. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada.



Violence Against Older Women

Violence of older persons can occur at home, in the community,
or in institutional settings. It can take many forms, including physical,
emotional, financial, sexual, spiritual or social.

(BC Health Files, 2005)

Prevalence

  • Violence against older persons has remained a largely hidden issue, with untold social and economic costs.
  • It is difficult to estimate the prevalence of violence against older persons due to factors such as under-reporting, confusion about what constitutes violence, limitations in victimization surveys and police reported data, and a general lack of awareness about the issue.
  • In 2006, overall rates of police-reported violent crimes against older persons were higher for older men (150/100,000) than older women (103/100,000). During this same time period however, rates of family violence were higher for older women (47/100,000) than older men (37/100,000).
  • Women are more likely than men to consistently experience violence throughout the duration of their life. Older women are more likely to have experienced many years of emotional, physical or sexual abuse than older men.

Who are the Perpetrators?

  • Approximately 80% of those accused of violently harming an older family member are men.

Physical Violence

  • Older female victims of violence (60%) are more likely than older men (53%) to experience physical force as a form of victimization.
  • On average, older women live longer than older men. Older women are more likely than older men to live in a residential care facility, and are therefore at greater risk of institutional abuse from staff, family or volunteers.
  • Older men are more likely than older women to have a weapon present in the committing of a violent crime (19% versus 13% respectively). The most common weapon used to victimize older men and women is a knife or other piercing instrument.
  • In 2005, murders committed against older persons represented 7% of all murders committed in Canada. This translates to a rate of 1.16/100,000. Over the past 30 years, murder rates for older persons in Canada have been gradually declining.

Sexual Violence

  • According to 2005 police-reported data, sexual assault is the only violent crime for which older women had higher rates than older men (6/100,000 versus 1/100,000 respectively).

Financial Violence

  • Financial victimization is the most common form of abuse that older persons are likely to face. Due to the fact that older women typically live longer than older men, financial victimization for older women may have profound and long-term impacts on their quality of life.
  • National statistics on the extent of telephone fraud experienced by Canadians has been non-existent. However, unlike other classifications of crime, it has been recognized that older persons are particularly vulnerable to telemarketing fraud. According to PhoneBusters, Canada’s anti-fraud call centre, between 1996 and 2003, 84% of the total dollar loss through telemarketing prize and lottery occurrences was accounted for by victims over the age of 60.

Government of British Columbia. (2005). Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults: Understanding Gender
Differences. BC Health Files.
Ogrodnik, L. (2008). Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2008. Ottawa, ON: Statistics
Canada.
Ogrodnik, L. (2007). Seniors as Victims of Crime. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada.
National Seniors Council. (2007). Report of the National Seniors Council on Elder Abuse. Ottawa, ON:
National Seniors Council.

 

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