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  • In Canada, women are at a greater risk than men for all violent crimes, including sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence (Statistics Canada).
  • Statistics Canada reports sexual assault rates have remained stable over the past 25 years (in contrast with some other forms of gender-based violence, which have declined slightly over the same period)
  • According to self-reported data in 2014, 87.4% of sexual assaults were committed against women (37 per 1,000 population). Source: Criminal Victimization in Canada, 2014 (Statistics Canada)
  • In Canada, 7 in 10 self-reported sexual assaults are committed against women. Source: Measuring violence against women: Statistical Trends
  • The single greatest risk factor for experiencing sexual violence is to be a woman or girl or perceived as feminine. Other risk factors for sexual violence include: age, ethnicity (ex: Indigenous women are more likely to experience sexual violence than non-Indigenous women), being unmarried, geographic location, particularly those living in a small or rural community, and living with a physical or mental disability. Source: Canadian Women - Facts About Violence
  • Police-reported data on sexual violence indicates that women are more likely than men to experience physical injury; 25 per cent of women sustain injuries compared to 15 per cent of men. Source: Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends - Key Findings
  • Unwanted sexual touching remains the most common form of self-reported sexual assault against women, followed by sexual attacks: 81 per cent of incidents involved unwanted sexual touching, while the remaining 19 per cent involved sexual attacks. Source: Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends - Key Findings
  • Statistics Canada’s 2014 General Social Survey indicates that 95 per cent of sexual assaults were not reported to police.
  • In Canada, the overwhelming majority of perpetrators of violence against women and girls are men. The percentage is higher for sexual crimes. This pattern is consistent in police-reported and self-reported data. For example: men were responsible for 94% of self-reported sexual assaults in 2014 compared to 86% of violent incidents. Criminal Victimization in Canada, 2014 (Statistics Canada)
  • The most common locations for general sexual assault (both police-reported and self-reported) are commercial settings, followed by private residences. Sexual assault level 2 and 3 are more likely to occur in residences. Source: Issue Brief: Sexual Violence against Women in Canada
  • According to a 2015 survey commissioned by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, only 1 in 3 Canadians know what sexual consent means.
    • Almost all Canadians (96%) believe all sexual activities should be consensual yet only 1 in 3 Canadians understand what it means to give consent.
    • 1 in 5 Canadians between the ages of 18 to 34 believe if a woman sends an explicit photo through email or text, this always means she is giving consent to a sexual activity.
    • 1 in 10 Canadians believe consent to sexual activity is not needed between long-term partners and spouses. 

* A note about statistics: According to the most recent self-reported General Social Survey (GSS) on Victimization conducted in 2014, only 5% of sexual assaults experienced by Canadians over the age of 15 are reported to police. (Statistics Canada). For this reason, it is important to take into account both police-reported and self-reported statistics about sexual assault (and other forms of sexual violence). In Canada, national data on prevalence rates of sexual violence against women in Canada comes from two primary sources: The General Social Survey (GSS) and the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR). The GSS is a self reported survey on victimization collected every five years. The UCR is updated on an ongoing basis and analyzed annually. The UCR collects police-reported data on a range of criminal offence.