Patterns of Violence Within the Family
1. Patterns of Violence Within the Family:
- self-reported spousal violence
- police-reported violence against children
-police-reported violence against seniors
2. Corporal Punishment in Canada
3. CBC podcast “Shannon Moroney’s Story, Part I”
- CBC podcast “Shannon Moroney’s Story, Part II”
- Also see http://theforgivenessproject.com/stories/shannon-moroney-canada/
Look at the Specific Sources of Data
- victimization surveys designed specifically to measure family violence may result in higher estimates of
its occurrence in the community
- the breadth of the definitions used in the survey may also influence the findings
- broad definitions of “family” (eg. marriage, adoption, foster care, “step and blended [two
families that existed separately come together, re-marriage] family arrangements”) will result in higher
- broad definitions of “violence”, which go beyond physical attacks to include threats of violence and
physical and emotional abuse, will also increase estimates. [emotional abuse, threats, etc. might not be
criminal nature but are areas of study we want to look at]
Note that family violence is gendered [males and females experience it differently and react to it
differently, so it’s about the differences rather than the quantity]
- that is, it is experienced by, and responded to, differently by men and women
- there are similarities and overlaps between men and women, but there are differences which are
directly linked to the gender of the victim, the gender of the perpetrator and the gendered nature of
Measuring Spousal Violence Through the GSS (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2011)
“Every five years Statistics Canada conducts a General Social Survey cycle on victimization that collects
information from a random sample of Canadian women and men aged 15 years and older about their
experiences of criminal victimization, including spousal violence. All respondents who are married or
living in a common-law relationship at the time of the survey, or had contact with their ex-partner
within the previous five years, are asked a series of 10 questions about spousal violence. This includes
legally married, common-law, same-sex, separated and divorced spouses.”
“The questions measure both physical and sexual violence as defined by the Criminal Code that could be
acted upon by the police. This includes acts such as being threatened with violence, being pushed, grabbed, shoved, slapped, kicked, bit, hit, beaten, choked, threatened with a gun or knife or forced into
sexual activity. Respondents are also asked about emotional and financial abuse that they had
experienced at the hands of a current or ex-partner within the previous five years.”
“While incidents of emotional and financial abuse are not used to calculate the overall proportion of
spousal violence victims, information about these other forms of abuse help to create a better
understanding of the context in which physical or sexual violence may occur.”
- Unless otherwise stated, the differences reported in this report are statistically significant.
Self-reported spousal violence, 2009
- The 2009 General Social Survey (GSS) found that self-reported spousal violence remained stable from
2004, when the survey was last conducted; similar to 2004, 6% of Canadians with a current or former
spouse reported being physically or sexually victimized by their spouse in the 5 years preceding the
- 6% reported being physically or sexually victimized by their partner or spouse in the preceding five
years. This has remained stable since 2004 .
- Overall, a similar proportion of males and females reported having experienced spousal violence in
the previous 5 years
- Similar to previous GSS victimization cycles, females continued to report more serious forms of
spousal violence than males. For example, in 2009, females who reported spousal violence were about
three times more likely than males (34% versus 10%) to report that they had been sexually assaulted,
beaten, choked or threatened with a gun or a knife by their partner or ex-partner in the previous 5 years
- Similar to 2004, the 2009 GSS found that 3 in 10 spousal violence victims had been injured during the
commission of the offence, with females being more than twice as likely as males to report an injury (42%
versus 18%). Among those who stated that they had been injured, bruises were the most common form
of injury reported by both female (95%) and male (75%) victims.
[women and men report an equal amount of spousal violence, women experience more serious
incidents in terms of violence and experience it more frequently]
Sociodemographic Characteristics of Victims of Spousal Assault
- Canadians aged 25 to 34 were three times more likely than those aged 45 and older to report being
physically or sexually assaulted by a current spouse in the previous 12 months
- Canadians living in common-law relationships were approximately three times more likely than their
married counterparts to report having experienced at least one incident of spousal violence in the
previous 12 months. [no direct correlation between age and living common-law]
- Canadians living in blended families were also three times more likely than both intact families and
families without children to report experiencing spousal violence
- Other socio-demographic factors, such as household income and education levels, were found to have
had little impact on experiencing spousal violence.
- Those who self-identified as gay or lesbian were more than twice as likely as heterosexuals to report
having experienced spousal violence, while those who self-identified as bisexual were four times more
likely than heterosexuals to self-report spousal violence. - Of those who reported having an activity limitation (such as a physical or mental condition or health
problem), 8% reported having been a victim of spousal violence in the previous 5 years, compared to 6%
who did not have an activity limitation.
- Those who self-identified as an Aboriginal person were almost twice as likely as those who did not to
report being the victim of spousal violence (10% versus 6%).
- Those who identified themselves as a visible minority or an immigrant were not found to be associated
with increased levels of spousal violence.
- People who identified as an immigrant were less likely to report being a victim of spousal violence than
non-immigrants (4% versus 7%). These findings are consistent with those for victimization in general
(Perreault and Brennan 2010).
Reporting Spousal Violence to the Police
- In 2009, less than one-quarter (22%) of spousal violence victims stated that the police found out about
the incident, down from 28% in 2004. The decline in reporting occurred primarily among female victims.
- Most incidents of spousal violence that were brought to the attention of police were reported by
victims themselves. While female victims were about three times more likely than male victims to state
that they had reported the incident to police (23% versus 7%), the reasons for choosing to report were
similar for both groups.
Reasons For Reporting to Police
- The most common reason for reporting incidents of spousal violence to police were:
- a desire to stop the violence and to receive protection (89%),
- a sense of duty (49%),
- wanting their partner arrested and punished (31%),
- someone else recommended that they report the incident (26%).
Of those victims who did report the victimization to the police, over 6 in 10 stated that they were
satisfied with the police response.
Reasons for Not Reporting to Police
- Among those who did not report such incidents in 2009, the most common reasons were:
- The belief that the incident was a personal matter that did not concern the police (82%).
- They dealt with the situation in another way (81%),
- They felt that the incident was not important enough (70%)
Police-reported family violence against children and youth, 2009
- Police-reported data for 2009 indicate that children and youth under the age of 18 were most likely to
be sexually victimized or physically assaulted by someone they knew (85% of incidents). [you CANNOT
interview adults about children they knew because it takes away the idea of confidentiality and you
MUST get consent from children, but those