Facts about crime and victimization in Canada
- Every year, almost 1 in 5 Canadians is victimized by crime such as theft, physical assault, sexual assault, vandalism, robbery, and break ins, most frequently. Among these victims, approximately 1.6 million people will suffer violent victimization annually.
- Youth, young adults, women, persons with mental health issues, Indigenous Canadians and members of the LGBTQ community are disproportionately affected.
- Indigenous Canadians are twice as likely to be physically assaulted than non-Indigenous Canadians and almost 7 times more likely to be victims of homicide.
- Youth aged 15-24 years of age are almost 15 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than persons 65 years of age or older.
- In 2014, women reported a higher violent victimization rate than men (85 incidents per 1,000 women compared with 67 incidents per 1,000 men) according to the General Social Survey. This difference was mainly attributable to the relative stability in the rate of sexual assaults, an offence mostly involving female victims, along with a decrease in the rates of other violent crimes, which mostly involved male victims.
- Just one third (31%) of criminal incidents are reported to the police each year in Canada. In cases of sexual assault, data shows that a majority of victims are female and victimization surveys show that 95% of incidents are not reported to the police.
- The cost of crime in Canada is estimated at almost $100 billion per year, with the majority of costs (83%) being borne directly by victims, such as medical expenses, hospitalization, lost wages, stolen/damaged property, pain and suffering, and loss of life. Less than 5% of criminal convictions result in a restitution order where the offender has to repay losses suffered by the victim.
Samuel Perreault, Juristat – “Criminal Victimization in Canada, 2014“; “Self-reported victimization, 2014“; Ambrose Leung, The Cost of Pain Suffering from Crime in Canada, 2004; Victims of Crime Research Digest, Issue No. 2, 2009, “Understanding Restitution”
- I can’t pay my rent/mortgage. Where can I get financial assistance? Crime and violence have significant financial impacts on victims. Many people need time off work in the aftermath of what has happened to them or their loved one. Some victims, depending on their injuries, may need to access short and/or long-term disability programs through their employers/employee assistance programs. Call your local victim services program for assistance accessing various financial assistance and compensation programs. If your child (under 18 years of age) is missing or has been murdered, the Federal Income Support for Parents of Murdered or Missing Children (PMMC) grant is an income support grant available to applicants who have suffered a loss of income from taking time away from work to cope with the death or disappearance of their child or children, as a result of a probable Criminal Code offence. Learn more here.
- I can’t sleep because of the crime. What can I do? Stress from a traumatic event such as being victimized by crime can often lead to a variety of sleep problems. When the body is overstimulated, the brain is flooded with neurochemicals, such as epinephrine and adrenaline, that keep a person awake. It can be difficult to wind down at the end of the day. The neurochemicals remain present in the brain and can interrupt the normal sleep cycle resulting in insomnia, bad dreams, and daytime fatigue caused by sleep disturbance. Try to reduce feelings of stress, especially before bedtime. Don’t watch the news right before going to bed. Avoid coffee in the afternoon and evening. Avoid too much alcohol and make healthy lifestyle choices. Take a warm bath or soak in a hot tub before bedtime. If sleep problems persist, see your family physician or doctor, who may prescribe medications that will help you sleep but won’t make you feel groggy in the morning. Or, contact your local victim services office who can assist you with finding a counsellor if you wish to talk to someone about your sleep difficulties.
- I am scared to do things that used to be normal activities for me. Where can I get help? Going through a traumatic experience can bring on upsetting emotions, frightening memories, or a sense of constant danger. Or you may feel numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. When bad things happen, it can take a while to get over the pain and feel safe again. With the right treatment, self-help strategies, and support, you can speed your recovery. Whether the traumatic event happened years ago or yesterday, you can heal and move on. Contact your local victim services for a referral to treatment options such as counselling.
- Have more questions? Call us 1-877-232-2610.