Sexualized Violence: Issues Facing Women

  • Women self-reported 553,000 sexual assaults in 2014, according to Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey on Victimization.
  • Although both men and women experience sexual assault, women accounted for 92% of victims of police-reported sexual assaults in 2008.
  • Young Canadians are more likely to experience sexual assault. The rate of sexual assault for Canadians age 15 to 24 is 18 times higher than that of Canadians age 55 and older.
  • Sexual assault is the only violent crime in Canada that is not declining. Since 1999, rates of sexual assault have remained relatively unchanged.4 This is one of the reasons that women’s risk of violent victimization was about 20% higher than men’s in 2014, according to self-reported data from the General Social Survey on Victimization. While the rate of sexual assault has remained stable, rates of robbery and physical assault have gone down, and men are more likely to be the victims of those crimes. Between 2009 and 2013, the rates of police-reported sexual assault of women by intimate partners rose by 17%.
  • According to the 2014 Statistics Canada General Social Survey (GSS) on Victimization, only one in twenty sexual assaults (5%) were reported to police, a rate over seven times lower than that for physical assaults (38%).
  • Cyber violence, which includes online threats, harassment, and stalking, has emerged as an extension of violence against women. Young women (age 18-24) are most likely to experience online harassment in its most severe forms, including stalking, sexual harassment and physical threats.


  1. Criminal Victimization in Canada, 2014, Table 4, Statistics Canada. Available at: 002-x/2015001/article/14241/tbl/tbl04-eng.htm
  2. Cyber violence against women and girls, UN Women. Available at:
  3. Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2013, Statistics Canada, p. 31. Available at:
  4. The Nature of Sexual Offences, 2010, Statistics Canada. Available at:
  5. Statistics Canada. 2016. 2014 General Social Survey, Cycle 28: Canadians’ Safety (Victimization): Public Use Microdata File, Documentation and User’s Guide