Quick Facts
 
  • On any given day in Canada, more than 3,000 women (along with their 2,500 children) are living in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence.  (Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2009, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada, page 12)
  • Among the women admitted for abuse, 87% were fleeing psychological abuse; 73% physical abuse; 51% physical threats; 48% financial abuse; 38% harassment; and 24% sexual abuse.
  • Nearly half of the women escaping abusive situations were admitted with their children; 69% (1,999) of these were children under 10 years of age.
  • 62 – the number of female victims of spousal homicide in 2004.  Of these, 27 women were killed by their legally married husband, 20 by a common-law partner, and 15 by a separated or divorced husband.
  • Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.  (The Violence Against Women Survey, Statistics Canada, 1993.  Although more up-to-date statistics would be preferable, no future Statistics Canada survey asked women about their life-time experience of violence.)
  • 61% of Canadians say they personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted.  (Decima Survey, Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2007.)
  • Each year, over 40,000 arrests result from domestic violence – that’s about 12% of all violent crime in Canada.  Since only 22% of all incidents are reported to the police, the real number is much higher.
  • On average, every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.  (“Homicide in Canada, 2009,” Sara Beattie and Adam Cotter, Juristat, Volume 30, Number 3, Statistics Canada, page 14.)
  • More than one in ten Canadian women say they have been stalked by someone in a way that made them fear for their life.  (Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2005, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada, page 34.)
  • The cost of violence against women in Canada for health care, criminal justice, social services, and lost wages and productivity has been calculated at $4.2 billion per year.  (Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006, Statistics Canada, page 34.)
  • About 80% of sex trafficking victims in Canada are women and girls.
  • The roots of violence are founded in the belief that the needs, feelings, or beliefs of one person or group are more correct or more important than those of another person or group.  This fundamental inequality creates a rationale for humiliation, intimidation, control, abuse-even murder. 
  • Violence against women happens in all cultures and religions, in all ethnic and racial communities, at every age, and in every income group.  However, some women are especially at risk: Aboriginal women (Violence Against Women Fact Sheet, Status of Women Canada); young women (under the age of 24) (2009 Annual Satistical Report, Toronto Police Services); women with a disability (Women with Disabilities and Violence Fact Sheet, DAWN Canada, undated); and immigrant women (due to economic dependence, language barriers, and a lack of knowledge about community resources) (Violence Against Women Fact Sheet, Status of Women Canada).

What Should I do if I Think Someone is Being Abused?

  • If someone is in immediate danger, call 911 or the emergency number in your community.
  • Put her safety first.  Never talk to anyone about abuse in front of their suspected abuser.  Unless she specifically asks for it, never give her materials about domestic abuse or leave information through voice messages or emails that might be discovered by her abuser.  However, abuse thrives in secrecy, so speak up if you can do so safely.
  • Talk to her about what you see and assure her that you are concerned.  Tell her you believe her and that it is not her fault.
  • Encourage her not to confront her partner if she is planning to leave.  Her safety must be protected.
  • If she wants to talk, listen.  If she doesn’t, simply tell her she does not deserve to be harmed and that you are concerned for her safety.  Ask her if there is anything you can do to help, but don’t offer to do anything that makes you uncomfortable or feels unsafe.
  • Offer to provide childcare while she seeks help.
  • If she decides to stay in the relationship, try not to judge her.  Remember, leaving an abuser can be extremely dangerous.  Sometimes, the most valuable thing you can offer a woman who is being abused is your respect.
  • Provided your own safety is not at risk, offer your home as a safe haven to her, her children and pets.  If she accepts your offer, do not let her partner in.
  • Encourage her to pack a small bag with important items and keep it stored at your home in case she needs it.
  • Know that you or she can call VictimLink at 1-800-563-0808.

If she denies the abuse:

  • Assure her she can talk to you any time.
  • Don’t become angry or frustrated with her decisions.  It is important to understand that she may be afraid or not ready to take the next steps.
  • Try to understand why she might be having difficulty getting help.  She may feel ashamed.
  • Offer to go with her if she needs additional information or support.
  • If she has children, let her know gently that you are concerned about her and her children’s safety and emotional well-being.  She may be more willing to recognize her situation if she realizes her children may also be in danger.