Statistics - Prevalence youths

How is the prevalence of sexual assault determined?

Three main information sources are used to determine the prevalence of sexual assault among youths:

  1. Youth protection service data.+

    This type of data is based on new cases of sexual abuse of minors known to youth protection services that are reported over a given period, usually one year (incidence). However, although such data can be used to determine how many sexual abuse cases were handled by youth protection services over the period concerned, they represent only a small proportion of all cases of sexual abuse against children and adolescents. This is because sexual abuse is not always disclosed and reported to the authorities and the cases that are reported are not always substantiated. Youth protection service data are derived primarily from Canadian Incidence Studies of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect - CIS.

  2. Police service data.+

    This type of data is based on sexual offences recorded annually by police services (incidence). However, although such data can be used to determine how many sexual offences were handled by these services, they represent only a small proportion of all sexual assaults. This is because sexual assault is not always disclosed and reported to the authorities and the cases that are reported are not always deemed to be well-founded. Police service data are derived primarily from the Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey – UCR2.

  3. Population survey data.+

    This type of data is the most reliable when it comes to determining the prevalence of sexual assault within a population. This is because population surveys are usually based on large, representative samples of the population and respondents answer questions about their victimization experiences anonymously. However, such surveys do not provide detailed information on the backgrounds and life experiences of victims. Population survey data are derived from national surveys, such as the General Social Survey, and certain scientific studies.

Prevalence and characteristics of child sexual abuse

Highlights

Sexual abuse affects a large number of children in Québec.

  • In 2006, approximately one male out of 10 (9.6%) and almost one female out of four (22.1%) in Québec reported having been a victim of at least one sexual assault with physical contact before the age of 18, which is equivalent to 16% of the Québec population.1
  • In 2008, 55 cases of sexual abuse per 100 000 children were reported to and deemed well-founded by youth protection services in Québec, compared to 43 cases per 100 000 children in Canada as a whole.2,3 Sources: ÉIQ-2008, CIS-2008
  • In Québec, victims under 18 accounted for 53.4% of all victims of police-recorded sexual offences in 2014.35 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2014

Even though boys are victims of numerous incidents of sexual abuse, particularly prior to adolescence, they are victimized less often than girls.

  • A study conducted in 2006 on a representative sample of the Québec population revealed that twice as many women as men were sexually abused in childhood (22% compared to 10%).1
  • In most sexual abuse cases substantiated by youth protection services in Canada in 2008, the victim was a girl (78%).5 Source CIS-2008
  • In Québec, the number of police-recorded sexual offences in 2013 was three and a half times higher for girls (2 753) than for boys (771).32 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2013
  • In 2013, sexual offences against young females recorded by police services in Québec most frequently targeted adolescents, whereas sexual offences against young males most commonly targeted children. Indeed, 61.8% of female victims were between 12 and 17 years of age, while 58.9% of male victims were under the age of 12.32 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2013

Child sexual abuse usually involves physical contact (touching and penetration) and often occurs in multiple incidents; however, it rarely involves violence.

  • Sexual assault with a weapon (level 2) and aggravated sexual assault (level 3) accounted for less than 1% of all police-recorded sexual offences against minors in both Québec and Canada in 2009.6,7 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2009
  • In 2008, touching was the most common type of abuse (53%) committed in cases of sexual abuse substantiated by child welfare services in Canada, followed by sexual assault with penetration (21%).3 Source CIS-2008
  • 51% of cases investigated following substantiated reports of sexual abuse in Canada in 2008 concerned multiple incidents and 49% involved a single incident.2 Source CIS-2008

Child sexual abuse is almost always committed by individuals known to the victim, including family members and minors.

  • The perpetrator in nearly 97% of sexual abuse cases substantiated by youth protection services in 2008 was known to the victim: a caregiver in 33% of cases and a sibling in 32%.3 Source CIS-2008
  • In one quarter (25%) of sexual offences reported to police in Canada in 2012 and committed by a family member against a child or youth (0-17 years of age), the accused was a brother or a sister.28Source : UCR2 – Statistics Canada
  • 12% of police-recorded sexual offences against children and youth in Canada in 2012 were committed by a stranger.8 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
  • In Canada, about half of all sexual offences against young people aged 12 to 15 and 16 to 17 that were reported to police in 2012 were committed by an acquaintance (49% and 53% respectively). The age of the accused suggests that many of them were peers, as 30% were between 12 and 17 years of age, and another 19% were between the ages of 18 and 24.28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada

Data from youth protection services

Highlights

  • In 2008, 55 cases of sexual abuse per 100 000 children were reported to and deemed well-founded by youth protection services in Québec, compared to 43 cases per 100 000 children in Canada as a whole.2,3 Source: ÉIQ-2008
  • In most sexual abuse cases substantiated by youth protection services in Canada in 2008, the victim was a girl (78%) and nearly half of the victims (48%) were 12 to 15 years old.5 Source CIS-2008
  • The perpetrator in nearly 97% of sexual abuse cases substantiated by youth protection services in 2008 was known to the victim: a caregiver in 33% of cases and a sibling in 32%.3 Source CIS-2008
  • In cases where allegations of sexual abuse were deemed well-founded by youth protection services in Québec and Canada between 1998 and 2003, between 25% and 49% of the children concerned had experienced one other form of maltreatment.9,10,11 Sources: ÉIQ-2008, CIS-1998, CIS-2003
 
 

Youth protection service data (incidence) cannot be used to determine the exact prevalence of, or real change in, child sexual abuse because these data reveal only the number of victims known to child welfare services and thus account for only about 10% of all sexual abuse incidents experienced by children.12 Incidence rates may be affected by:

  1. whether or not the victim or his or her family or friends decide to report the sexual abuse to the authorities;
  2. whether or not youth protection services decide to select a case for investigation;
  3. whether or not a decision is made to judge the events substantiated by youth protection services.5

 

Québec data

  • Prevalence of sexual abusecliquez pour voir plus

    • In Québec in 2008, 78 cases of sexual abuse per 100 000 children were reported to and deemed well-founded by youth protection services, representing 6% of all maltreatment situations that were deemed well-founded.27 Source: ÉIQ-2008
  • Age and gender of victimscliquez pour voir plus

    • In 2008, girls represented 73% of victims of substantiated incidents of sexual abuse and were thus overrepresented compared to boys.27 Source: ÉIQ-2008
    • In 2008, children who had experienced one substantiated incident of sexual abuse were aged 12 to 17 in 45% of cases; 6 to 11 in 37% of cases; 3 to 5 in 17% of cases; and 2 or under in 2% of cases.27 Source: ÉIQ-2008
  • Types and severity of sexual abuse cliquez pour voir plus

    • In 2008, the types of sexual abuse committed in cases deemed well-founded by Québec youth protection services consisted mainly of sexual touching (46%), sexual assault with penetration (11%) and oral sexual activities (6%). However, in 17% of cases, they fell into the category of “other types of sexual abuse.”27.
    • In Québec in 2008, 58% of cases investigated following reports of sexual abuse that were deemed well-founded by youth protection services concerned multiple incidents and 49%, a single incident.27
  • Change over timecliquez pour voir plus

    • Changes can be noted in the sexual abuse incidence rates obtained in the three Canadian and Québec child maltreatment incidence studies conducted since 1998, and these changes point to a decline in sexual abuse cases in Canada and Québec.3 Sources: CIS-1998, CIS-2003, CIS-2008. However, these data must be interpreted with caution, the variations observed are probably more related to factors such as adjustments in youth protection service practices and to elements that may or may not facilitate the reporting of sexual abuse situations, than they are to an actual decrease in the prevalence of child sexual abuse.
    Table 1 - Change in sexual abuse incidence rates over 10 years (per 100 000 children)*
      1998 2003 2008
    Québec

    81

    112

    55

    Rest of Canada

    89

    62

    40

    Sources: CIS-1998, CIS-2003, CIS-2008

    * These rates differ from the sexual abuse incidence rates reported in Québec and Canada since the data have been adjusted to make them comparable from one province to another.

Canadian data

  • Prevalence of sexual abusecliquez pour voir plus

    • In 2008, 43 cases of sexual abuse per 100 000 children were reported to and deemed well-founded by child welfare services in Canada.2 Source: CIS-2008
    • Sexual abuse reports deemed well-founded in Canada in 2008 accounted for 3% of all maltreatment reports and were the focus of 2 607 investigations.2 Source: CIS-2008
  • Age and gender of victims Click to see more.

    • In most sexual abuse cases substantiated by Canadian child welfare services in 2008, the victim was a girl (78%) and nearly half of the victims (48%) were 12 to 15 years old.5 Source CIS-2008
  • Types and severity of sexual abuseClick to see more.

    • 51% of cases investigated following substantiated reports of sexual abuse in Canada in 2008 concerned multiple incidents and 49%, a single incident.2 Source: CIS-2008.
    • In 2008, touching was the most common type of abuse (53%) committed in cases of sexual abuse substantiated by child welfare services in Canada, followed by sexual assault with penetration (21%). In nearly 97% of cases, the perpetrator was known to the victim: a caregiver in 33% of cases and a sibling in 32%.3 Source: CIS-2008
    • In cases where sexual abuse was the primary form of maltreatment substantiated during investigations by child welfare services in Canada in 2008, physical harm was identified in 11% of the cases, while emotional harm was observed in 47%.2 Source: CIS-2008
  • Change over timeClick to see more.

    Changes can be noted in the sexual abuse incidence rates obtained in the three Canadian and Québec child maltreatment incidence studies conducted since 1998, and these changes point to a decline in sexual abuse cases in Canada and Québec.3 Sources: CIS-1998, CIS-2003, CIS-2008, ÉIQ-1998, ÉIQ-2003, ÉIQ-2008. However, these data must be interpreted with caution, the variations observed are probably more related to factors such as adjustments in youth protection service practices and to elements that may or may not facilitate the reporting of sexual abuse situations, than they are to an actual change in the prevalence of child sexual abuse.3

    Table 1 - Change in sexual abuse incidence rates over 10 years (per 100 000 children)*
      1998 2003 2008
    Québec 81 112 55
    Rest of Canada 89 62 40

    Sources: CIS-1998, CIS-2003, CIS-2008, ÉIQ-1998, ÉIQ-2003, ÉIQ-2008

    * These rates differ from the sexual abuse incidence rates reported in Québec and Canada since the data have been adjusted to make them comparable from one province to another.
  • Other forms of violence Click to see more.

    In cases where allegations of sexual abuse were deemed well-founded by child welfare services in Québec and Canada between 1998 and 2003, assessments confirmed that between 25% and 49% of the children concerned had experienced one other form of maltreatment, including physical abuse, psychological abuse, neglect and exposure to spousal violence.9,10,11 Sources: ÉIQ-2003, CIS-1998, CIS-2003

Source of data: Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect - CISClick to see more.

Three nation wide studies have been conducted with child welfare services in Canada since 1998 to determine the incidence of reported maltreatment of children under 16 years of age. These studies reveal how many child sexual abuse situations are reported to and deemed well-founded (substantiated) by these services over a given year, but they do not specify whether the cases identified are new or not.

The Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect carried out in 2008 (CIS-2008) examined nearly 16 000 child maltreatment investigations conducted using a representative sample of 112 child welfare service organizations in the fall of 2008. The data were processed so that they would be representative of Canada’s population.2

A Québec component of the CIS-2008 made it possible to achieve oversampling for the purpose of obtaining fair and valid provincial estimates. The Québec sample consisted of 50% of reports received in Québec during the period from October 1 to December 31, 2008. This component, called the Étude d’incidence québécoise – ÉIQ-2008, led to the production of a descriptive report for Québec.

Data from police services

Highlights

  • In Québec, victims under 18 accounted for 66.4% of all victims of police-recorded sexual offences in 2013. Indeed, young people in this age group were victims of a total of 3 524 such offences. The number of offences was three and a half times higher for girls (2 753) than for boys (771).32 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2013
  • In 2013, sexual offences against young females recorded by police services in Québec most frequently targeted adolescents, whereas sexual offences against young males most commonly targeted children. Indeed, 61.8% of female victims were between 12 and 17 years of age, while 58.9% of male victims were under the age of 12.32 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2013
  • 12% of police-recorded sexual offences against children and youth in Canada in 2012 were committed by a stranger.28 Most (75%) of the minors who were sexually abused by a stranger were 12 to 17 years old.28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
  • Nearly half of all sexual offences against young people aged 12 to 15 and 16 to 17 that were reported to police in 2012 were committed by an acquaintance (49% and 53% respectively). The age of the accused suggests that many of them were peers, as 30% were between 12 and 17 years of age, and another 19% were between the ages of 18 and 24.28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
  • The most serious forms of sexual abuse against minors in Canada, including sexual assault with a weapon (level 2) and aggravated sexual assault (level 3), accounted for about 1% of sexual offence incidents reported to police in Canada in 2012, i.e., 129 sexual offence incidents.28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada

 

Québec data

  • Prevalence of sexual offencesClick to see more.

    • In Québec, victims under 18 accounted for 66.4% of all victims of police-recorded sexual offences in 2013. Indeed, young people in this age group were victims of a total of 3 524 such offences (Chart 1).32 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2013
  • Age and gender of victims Click to see more.

    • Young girls under the age of 18 accounted for slightly more than half (51.9%) of all victims of sexual offences reported to police in Québec in 2013. Indeed, females in this age group were the victims of 2 753 offences (Chart 1).32 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2013
    • The number of police-recorded sexual offences in Québec in 2013 was three and a half times higher for young girls (2 753) than for young boys (771) (Chart 2).32. Source: UCR2 - MSP 2013
    • In the case of sexual offences against minors reported to police in Québec in 2009, girls were victims of the following offences more often than boys were: voyeurism (4% compared to 1%) and luring by means of a computer (11% compared to 6%). Boys, on the other hand, were victims of incest more often than girls (12% compared to 7%) (Table 3).6 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2009
    • In 2013, sexual offences against young females recorded by police services in Québec most frequently targeted adolescents, whereas sexual offences against young males most commonly targeted children. Indeed, 61.8% of female victims were between 12 and 17 years of age, while 58.9% of male victims were under the age of 12.26 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2013
  • Types and severity of sexual abuseClick to see more.

    • Common sexual assault (level 1) was the most frequent police-recorded sexual offence against minors in Québec in 2012, accounting for 63.3% of all sexual offences against young people. Sexual assault with a weapon (level 2) and aggravated sexual assault (level 3) accounted for about 1% of all sexual offences against minors (Chart 3).33 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2012
  • Accused persons Click to see more.

    • Among young victims of sexual offences recorded by police in Québec in 2013, 85.6% knew the accused person; in over one third of cases, the accused was a family member (38.7%).32 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2013
    • A parent or step-parent (16.9%), another immediate family member (15.2%) or a distant relative (6.6%) accounted for over one third (38.7%) of persons accused of sexual offences against young victims reported to police in Québec in 2013.32 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2013
    • In the case of sexual offences against minors recorded by Québec police services in 2010, children aged 11 or under were victimized by a member of their immediate or extended family more often than were young people aged 12 to 17 (65% compared to 36%).4 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2010
    • In the case of sexual offences against minors reported to police in Québec in 2010, the persons accused of offences against young people aged 12 to 17 were largely casual acquaintances (36%), friends (11%), or current or former dating partners (10%).4 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2010
  • Change over timeClick to see more.

    Table 2. Number of sexual offences against minors recorded in Québec from 2003 to 2013*
      2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
    Sexual offences against youth (under 18 years) 3 514 3 382 3 782 3 870 3 376 3 466 3 372 3 370 3 012 3 227 3 524

    Source: UCR2
    *Weighted sexual offence rates are not available for offences against minors for this period.

    • Between 2003 and 2013 in Québec, police recorded a fairly stable number of sexual offences against children under 18 years of age, although a slight decline was noted in 2011 (rates per 100 000 are not available for all the years). The higher number of offences in 2005 and 2006 was associated in particular with media coverage of certain high-profile cases, coupled with efforts to raise public awareness about sexual crimes against minors and the need to disclose them to the authorities. This in turn may have encouraged the disclosure of more sexual offences.6,26 Source: UCR2 - MSP 2001 to 2013

 

Source: UCR2 - MSP 2013

Table 3. Other sexual offences against minors recorded by police in Québec by gender – 2009
  % of other sexual offences (n=906)
Other sexual offences Girls Boys
Sexual interference 61 59
Invitation to sexual touching 14 17
Luring a child by means of a computer 11 6
Incest 7 12
Sexual exploitation 2 2
Corrupting children 1 2
Anal intercourse 0 1
Voyeurism 4 1

Source: UCR2 - MSP 2009

 

Source: UCR2 - MSP 2013

 

Source: UCR2 - MSP 2013

Canadian data

  • Prevalence of sexual offencesClick to see more.

    • Data reported to police in 2012 revealed that 11 381 girls (341/100 000 children) and 2 649 boys (75/100 000 children) under 18 years of age had been victims of sexual offences in Canada (Table 5).28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
    • More than half (55%) of all victims of police-recorded sexual offences in Canada in 2012 were under 18 years of age. The rate of sexual offences against children and youth (205/100 000) was over 1.5 times higher than the rate of such offences against young adults aged 18 to 24 (140/100 000).28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
  • Age and gender of victims Click to see more.

    • Generally speaking, higher rates of sexual offences are observed against girls, regardless of their age.28 In 2012, according to data reported to police in Canada, the rate of sexual offences against girls was almost eight times higher than the rate against boys (Tables 5 and 6).28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
    • The rate of sexual offences against girls reported to police in Canada in 2012 tended to rise with age and peaked at 14 (249/100 000), while the rate observed against boys was fairly stable for 5- to 15-year olds and decreased for 16- to 17-year olds.28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
    • The rates of sexual offences against young Canadians between the ages of 12 and 17 were higher than the rates of those against young adults aged 18 to 24. In 2012, the rate of sexual offences against youth aged 12 to 15 (399/100 000) and that against youth aged 16 to 17 (283/100 000) were more than double the rate against young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 (140/100 000).28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
  • Types and severity of sexual abuseClick to see more.

    • Most police-recorded sexual offences against children and youth in Canada in 2012 fell into the category of common sexual assault (level 1), with 10 159 reported offences (see Table 6).28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
    • 15% of child and youth victims of sexual offences reported to police in Canada in 2009 had minor or major injuries.7 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
    • The most serious forms of sexual abuse against minors, including sexual assault with a weapon (level 2) and aggravated sexual assault (level 3), accounted for about 1% of sexual offence incidents reported to police in Canada in 2012, i.e., 129 sexual offence incidents.28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
    • In 2008, 21% of all sexual offences against children and youth reported to police in Canada were committed using physical force (e.g., strangling, shoving, punching) in order to inflict injuries; a weapon (e.g., firearm, knife, poison) was used in 7% of cases.8 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
  • Accused personsClick to see more.

    • Slightly more than one third of sexual offences reported to police in Canada in 2012 were perpetrated by a family member (38%). Parents (15%) and extended family members (14%) accounted for the majority of accused family members, while siblings accounted for 10% (Table 7).28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
    • 12% of police-recorded sexual offences against children and youth in Canada in 2012 were committed by a stranger (based on cases where the relationship to the perpetrator was known) (Table 7).8 Most of the sexually abused minors (75%) were between the ages of 12 and 17.28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
    • In one quarter (25%) of sexual offences reported to police in Canada in 2012 and committed by a family member against a child or youth (0-17 years old), the accused was a brother or sister.28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
    • In Canada in 2012, young people aged 12 to 15 and 16 to 17 were more likely than children under the age of 12 to be victims of a sexual offence committed by a person who was not a member of their immediate family (62% and 72% respectively).28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
    • Nearly half of all sexual offences against young people aged 12 to 15 and 16 to 17 that were reported to police in Canada in 2012 were committed by an acquaintance (49% and 53% respectively). The age of the accused suggests that many of them were peers, as 30% were between 12 and 17 years of age, and another 19% were between the ages of 18 and 24.28 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
  • Change over timeClick to see more.

    • Some of the sexual offences recorded by Canadian police services have increased significantly over the years. This is the case of child pornography and luring a child by means of a computer.8 Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
    Table 4. Increase over the years in the sexual offences of child pornography and luring a child by means of a computer
      1999 2003 2008 2012
    Child pornography 78 n/d

    730

    2 177
    Luring a child by means of a computer* n/d 20 149 364

    * In August 2012, the offence of agreement or arrangement, which criminalizes agreeing or making an arrangement with a person by a means of telecommunication to commit a sexual offence against a child, was added to the offence of luring a child by means of a computer. This partially explains the increase in the number of offences.

    Source: UCR2- Statistics Canada

    • Trend data on police-reported crime (UCR) reveal a substantial increase in the number of child pornography incidents brought to the attention of police in Canada between 1999 and 2008. Indeed, the number of cases went from 78 in 1999 to 730 in 2008.8 According to Statistics Canada,8 this rise might be due to easier access to digital video and camera equipment, more targeted law enforcement efforts by police and heightened public awareness. Moreover, amendments to the Criminal Code in 2002 and additional reforms in 2005 broadened the definition of child pornography situations covered by law.
    • Luring a child by means of a computer (since 2012, luring a child by a means of telecommunication) is a police-recorded offence that has also increased significantly over the past five years (from 20 cases in 2003 to 149 in 2008).8
    • The increase in this offence might be attributed to more police enforcement and greater public awareness about child luring. In recent years, a number of initiatives have been taken by both federal and provincial governments to combat all forms of online child sexual exploitation, including the deployment of a national tip-line for reporting online sexual exploitation of children.8
Table 5. Child and youth victims (0 to 17 years) of sexual offences reported to police in Canada by gender – 201228
  Child and youth victims
Gender Total
Number Rate / 100 000
Total 14 055 205
Girls 11 381 341
Boys 2 649 75

Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada

Table 6. Child and youth victims (0 to 17 years) of sexual offences reported to police in Canada by age group and type of offence - 201228
  Child and youth victims by age group
Sexual offences* 0 to 3 years 4 to 6 years 7 to 11 years 12 to 15 years 16 and 17 years Total
No. Rate No. Rate No. Rate No. Rate No. Rate No. Rate
Total sexual offences
580
38
1 698
150
3 255
179
6 121
399
2 401
283
14 055
205
Sexual assault (level 1)
401
26
1 211
107
2 201
121
4 216
275
2 130
251
10 159
148
Sexual interference
147
10
385
34
728
40
1 173
76
---
---
2 433
35
Luring a child/agreement or arrangement
0
0
3
0
55
3
246
16
60
7
364
5
Sexual exploitation
---
---
---
---
---
---
---
---
95
11
95
1

* Does not include all sexual offences
--- not applicable
Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada

Table 7. Child and youth victims (aged 0 to 17) of sexual offences reported to police in Canada by gender of victim and relationship to the accused - 2008
  Child and youth victims by gender
Accused person Total Girls Boys
Number % Number % Number %
Total family 4 516 33 3 635 33 881 35
Parent§ 1 698 12 1 396 13 302 12
Sibling¥ 1 213 9 921 8 292 12
Extended family 1 573 12 1 288 12 285 11
Other family 32 0 30 0 2 0
Total friends/acquaintances 5 754 42 4 690 42 1 064 43
Authority figure 701 5 505 5 196 8
Boyfriend/girlfriend 422 3 412 4 10 0
Friend 1 083 8 845 8 238 10
Acquaintance 3 303 24 2 727 24 576 23
Stranger 1 317 10 1 118 10 199 8

Source: UCR2 – Statistics Canada
§ Biological, step, foster and adoptive parents.
¥ Biological, step, half, foster and adoptive siblings.

  • Source of data: Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey – UCR2Click to see more.

    The Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR2) Survey collects detailed information on criminal incidents that have been brought to the attention of, and been substantiated by, Canadian police services. Every year, Statistics Canada and the Ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec (MSP) [Québec’s ministry of public security] publish annual statistics on police-reported crime in each province based on UCR2 Survey data, making it possible to document sex-related crime in Canada and Québec. The data come from 155 police services, which, in 2008, covered 98% of Canada’s population.

    The statistics published concern sexual assault offences (sexual assault (level 1), sexual assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm (level 2) and aggravated sexual assault (level 3)) and other sexual offences related primarily to sexual violence against children, namely, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual exploitation, incest, non-consensual anal intercourse, anal intercourse between people under 18 years of age, bestiality and, since 2008, corrupting children, luring a child by means of a computer and voyeurism.

    **It should be noted that the annual statistics compiled by the UCR2 Survey include “historical” sexual offences, that is, offences committed several years prior to the year covered by the survey but reported in that year, as offences are recorded on the day they are reported. Sexual offences recorded against minors through the UCR2 Survey thus consist of offences committed against children under 18 years of age that were recorded in the year covered by the survey, regardless of the victims’ ages at the times when the offences were reported.

    Trend data on police-reported crime

    The UCR Trend Database contains data from the UCR2 Survey, which includes information compiled by 155 police services that covered 98% of the population of Canada in 2008, as well as information from 63 police services that consistently report data to the survey. These 63 services covered only 54% of Canada’s population in 2008.

Population survey data

Highlights

  • In 2006, a study conducted on a representative sample of the Québec adult population showed that about one male out of 10 (9.6%) and almost one female out of four (22%) reported having been a victim of at least one sexual assault with physical contact before the age of 18, which is equivalent to 16% of the Québec population.1These rates are comparable to those obtained in other North American studies.13,14
  • In 2006, 19% of people in Québec who reported having been sexually abused as children also reported that they were victims of physical violence before the age of 18; 14% reported that they had experienced psychological violence as well in childhood.1
 
 
Using a broad definition of sexual assault in prevalence studies (i.e., a definition that includes sexual assault without physical contact) rather than a restrictive one (i.e., a definition limited to sexual assault with physical contact or penetration) generates higher prevalence rates in population surveys.15

Québec data

  • In 2006, a child maltreatment prevalence study conducted on a representative sample of the Québec adult population showed that about one male out of 10 (9.6%) and almost one female out of four (22%) reported having been sexually assaulted before the age of 18, which is equivalent to 16% of the Québec population.1These rates are comparable to those obtained in other North American prevalence studies.13,14

International data

  • Prevalence of sexual assaultClick to see more.

    • According to a meta-analysis conducted in 22 countries, 20% of women and 8% of men were a victim of at least one sexual assault with physical contact in childhood.15
    • In North America, best estimates of the prevalence of sexual assault with physical contact in childhood, that is, the proportion of the population that has experienced at least one sexual assault of this type before the age of 18, indicate that 22% of women and 9% of men have been victimized in this way.14
    • A population survey conducted in 2010 with a representative sample of the U.S. population showed that 18.3% of adult females had experienced one rape or one incident of attempted rape in their lifetime. Of these victims, 42.2% had been raped for the first time before the age of 18 (30% between the ages of 11 and 17 and 12% before age 10), demonstrating that this form of sexual assault occurs early in women’s lives.16
  • Change over time Click to see more.

    Surveys that have measured the prevalence of sexual assault with physical contact in childhood using adult respondents and that have considered the age of respondents at the time of the survey have shown that, in Québec as elsewhere in the world (see table 8), prevalence rates for this type of assault in childhood do not vary significantly according to age group. It can thus be concluded that the prevalence of sexual assault has remained somewhat stable over time.13

    Table 8. Self-reported prevalence of sexual assault in childhood in Québec by age group of respondents*1
      18-24 years 25-44 years 45-64 years 65 years and +
    Self-reported prevalence of sexual assault with physical contact in childhood 12,6% 17,4% 16% 14,8%

    * No statistically significant difference between age groups

  • Other forms of violenceClick to see more.

    • In a review of 29 studies, the average prevalence of the co-occurrence of at least one incident of sexual assault and one other form of maltreatment in childhood was determined to be 16%, while the average prevalence of the co-occurrence of sexual assault and two other forms of maltreatment in childhood was determined to be between 5% and 17%.17
    • In Québec, 19% of people who have reported being sexually abused as children also reported that they were victims of physical violence before the age of 18; 14% reported that they had experienced psychological violence as well in childhood.1
 
 

References

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  2. Public Health Agency of Canada. (2010). Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect – 2008: Major Findings. Ottawa.
  3. Collin-Vézina, D. and Turcotte, D. (2011, June). L’abus sexuel envers les enfants au Canada : les victimes, les auteurs et les contextes. Paper presented at the Colloque international sur l’exploitation sexuelle des enfants et des conduites excessives. La Malbaie, Canada. (Available in French only)
  4. Ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec. (2012). Infractions sexuelles au Québec : Faits saillants 2010. Québec: Gouvernement du Québec. (Available in French only).
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  6. Ministère de la Sécurité publique du Québec (2011). Statistiques sur les agressions sexuelles au Québec 2009. Québec: Gouvernement du Québec. (Available in French only).
  7. Statistics Canada. (2011). Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada.
  8. Ogrodnik, L. (2010). Child and Youth Victims of Police-reported Violent Crime, 2008. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada.
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  10. Trocmé, N., Fallon, B., MacLaurin, B. and Neves, T. (2003). What is driving increasing child welfare caseloads in Ontario? Analysis of the 1993 and 1998 Ontario Incidence Studies. Child Welfare,84: 341-362.
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