Additional Facts

Since crime rates in Canada are falling, is violence against women still a serious problem?

  • All Canadians pay a steep price for violence against women. It’s estimated that each year, Canadians collectively spend $7.4 billion to deal with the aftermath of spousal violence alone, according to the Department of Justice. This figure includes immediate costs, such as emergency room visits and related costs, such as loss of income. It also includes tangible costs such as funerals, and intangible costs such as pain and suffering.[1]
  • Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.[2]
  • 67% of Canadians say they have personally known at least one woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse.[3]
  • Approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. Out of the 83 police-reported intimate partner homicides in 2014, 67 of the victims—over 80%—were women.[4]
  • On any given night in Canada, 3,491 women and their 2,724 children sleep in shelters because it isn’t safe at home.[5]
  • On any given night, about 300 women and children are turned away because shelters are already full.[6]
  • There were 1,181 cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada between 1980 and 2012, according to the RCMP.[7] However, according to grassroots organizations and the Minister of the Status of Women the number is much higher, closer to 4,000.[8]
  • Aboriginal women are killed at six times the rate of non-aboriginal women.[9]
  • Women are at greater risk of experiencing elder abuse from a family member, accounting for 60% of senior survivors of family violence.[10]
  • Cyber violence, which includes online threats, harassment, and stalking, has emerged as an extension of violence against women.[12] Young women (18-24) are most likely to experience online harassment in its most severe forms, including stalking, sexual harassment and physical threats.[13] More information on sexual assault and harassment (link to sexual assault fact sheet).

2. Isn’t there less domestic violence now than in the past?

  • Like most violent crime in Canada, rates of police-reported domestic violence have fallen over time.[14] This decline is partly due to increased social equality and financial freedom for women, which makes it easier for them to leave abusive relationships at earlier stages. It is also due to years of effort by groups who are working to end domestic violence. Their achievements include improved public awareness, more treatment programs for violent men, improved training for police officers and Crown attorneys, having the police lay charges rather than the victim, more coordination of community services, and the creation of domestic violence legislation in some areas of Canada.[15]
  • It’s also important to remember that the rate of domestic violence is likely much higher than we know;70% of spousal violence is not reported to the police.[16]
  • A 2015 study suggests that domestic violence can carry over into the workplace, threatening women’s ability to maintain economic independence. More than half (53%) of the respondents who had experienced domestic violence said that at least one type of abusive act happened at or near their workplace. Almost 40% of those who had experienced domestic abuse said it made it difficult for them to get to work, and 8.5% said that they lost their jobs because of it.[22]


[1] An Estimation of the Economic Impact of Spousal Violence in Canada, 2009, Department of Justice Canada. Available:

[2] The Violence Against Women Survey, Statistics Canada, 1993. Although more up-to-date data would be preferable, no recent Statistics Canada survey has asked women about their life-time experience of violence. Available:
Since publication, this report has been archived by Statistics Canada but the Canadian Women’s Foundation has a hard copy.

[3] Angus Reid Omnibus Survey, Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2012. Available at:

[4] Homicide in Canada, 2014, Statistics Canada, Table 6. In 2014, 67 women were killed by their intimate partners; this number divided by 365 days in the year comes out to 5.4. Available:

[5] Shelters for Abused Women in Canada, 2014, Statistics Canada, Available at: Out of the 4,476 women and 3,493 children staying in shelters on the snapshot date of April 16, 2014, 78% (or 3,491 women and 2,742 children) were there primarily because of abuse.

[6] Shelters for abused Women in Canada, 2014, Statistics Canada, calculation based on 201 children and 338 women (539 people total), 56% of whom were turned away from shelters already at capacity on the snapshot date of April 16, 2014. Available at:

[8] Confusion Reigns Over Number of Missing, murdered Indigenous Women, 2016, CBC News. Available at:

[9] Homicide in Canada, 2014, Statistics Canada, p.14. Available at:

[10] Family Violence in Canada: A statistical profile, 2013, Table 4.2. Available at:

[12] Cyber violence against women and girls, UN Women. Available at:

[13] Online Harassment: Summary of findings, Pew Research Centre, 2014. Available at:

[14] Family Violence in Canada; A Statistical Profile, 2013, Statistics Canada, p. 4. Available at:

[15] Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends, Statistics Canada, 2006, p. 18. Available at: 
and Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends, Statistics Canada, 2013, p. 94. available at:

[16] Infographic: Family Violence in Canada, 2014. Available at:

[22] Domestic Violence at Work, Canadian Labour Congress, 2015. Available: