Violence against Women

“Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human right violation, and it is perhaps the most pervasive.  It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth.  As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace”. Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary-General

What is considered to be violence against women (VAW)?

Violence against women is any act that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering, including threats of such acts and coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether in public or private life. 

Violence against Women in Canada and British Columbia

  • Half of Canadian women (51%) have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.

  • Every minute of every day, a Canadian woman or child is being sexually assaulted.

  • One to two women are murdered by a current or former partner each week in Canada.

  • Spousal violence makes up the single largest category of convictions involving violent offences in non-specialized adult courts in Canada over the five-year period 1997/98 to 2001/02. Over 90% of offenders were male.

  • Thirty-six percent of female victims of spousal violence and less than 10% of victims of sexual assault reported these crimes to the police in 2004.

  • Physical and sexual abuse costs Canada over $4 billion each year (factoring into account social services, criminal justice, lost employment days and health care interventions).

  • Violence against women occurs across all ethnic, racial, religious, age, social and economic groups. Some women are more vulnerable however, and are more likely to experience violence, including women with disabilities, geographically-isolated women, young women and Aboriginal women.

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