Victimization during childhood is another factor that increased the risk of being a victim of a violent crime as an adult. Overall, people who experienced child maltreatment recorded a rate of violent victimization more than double that of people who did not experience such abuse per 1, compared to Child maltreatment includes being slapped, hit on the head or pushed, as well as more serious actions such as being punched, kicked or forced into unwanted sexual activity. Moreover, people who themselves were never directly abused as children, but who witnessed violence by one of their parents toward another adult, also recorded higher rates of violent victimization in 97 incidents per 1,, compared to 53 per 1, among those who did not experience child maltreatment and did not witness violence by one of their parents.
Child maltreatment is associated with several other risk factors for violent victimization in adulthood. Even when all risk factors were taken into account, the risk of victimization remained higher for people who experienced child maltreatment Model 1.
People with a history of homelessness—those who have ever been homeless or have had to live with someone else or in their vehicle because they had nowhere else to go—reported higher violent victimization rates than people without such a history. People with a history of homelessness were also more likely to have lived in neighbourhoods with weak social cohesion, experienced child maltreatment, used drugs, and had reported experiencing a mental health condition, which partly—but not completely—explain their higher violent victimization rates Model 1.
Low social cohesion was found to be associated with a higher risk of violent victimization. Strong social cohesion generally refers to a neighbourhood where people know each other, help each other and share common values Charron ; Forrest and Kearns Low social cohesion seems to be associated with higher levels of crime, particularly due to lesser social control and collective efficacy in the neighborhood Sampson ; Charron Moreover, the presence of social disorder—such as litter, noisy neighbours, people being drunk or using drugs in public places—can be considered a sign of social disorganization Brown et al.
People who reported the presence of social disorder in their neighbourhood recorded a rate of violent victimization almost three times higher than people who did not perceive social disorder incidents per 1, compared to Even when all risk factors were taken into account, the presence of social disorder and the lack of help between neighbours continued to be key risk factors for violent victimization Model 1.
Canada has a very diverse population and governments have adopted various laws to protect its minority groups. For example, there are provisions under article Both police-reported data and data collected through the GSS show that these crimes most often involve minority groups Allen As such, monitoring violent victimization among different minority groups could help the development of targeted prevention programs or victim services.
The General Social Survey: An Overview
Among the minority groups covered by article People with disabilities also had an above-average victimization rate , and while this category includes all types of disabilities, physical and mental, these higher rates appear to be specifically the result of the high victimization rates among those with a mental or learning disability. It should be noted, however, that all of these rates include crimes motivated by hate as well as those that are not motivated by hate. Immigrants and members of a visible minority, religious minority or persons whose language most often spoken at home differed from that of the majority in their province all posted victimization rates similar to or lower than the average.
Data from various sources show that Aboriginal people are overrepresented as both offenders and victims of crime Statistics Canada ; Royal Canadian Mounted Police ; Perreault The GSS data confirm this trend. Violent victimization rates were especially high among Aboriginal females. For example, they recorded a sexual assault rate of incidents per 1, population, much higher than the rate of 35 per 1, recorded by their non-Aboriginal counterparts. Relative to their non-Aboriginals counterparts, Aboriginal people were more likely to have certain characteristics associated with a higher risk of violent victimization.
In particular, they were about 1.
The Aboriginal population is also younger on average than the non-Aboriginal population. When all risk factors measured by the GSS were controlled for, Aboriginal identity itself did not stand out as a characteristic linked to the risk of victimization. Instead, the higher victimization rates among Aboriginal people, overall, appeared to be related to the increased presence of risk factors among this group than among non-Aboriginals Model 1.
However, the same analysis carried out specifically for women revealed that, in , Aboriginal identity itself remained a key risk factor for victimization among women, even when controlling for the presence of other risk factors.
General Social Survey: An Overview,
In other words, higher rates among Aboriginal females could not completely be explained by the factors measured in this analysis; so factors other than those measured may be at play. Only a small proportion of the violent crime took place on the street or in a public place. However, the average age of the offenders was slightly lower when the victims themselves were young.
Although the fear of being the victim of a crime is often linked to a fear of being attacked by a stranger Wilcox ; Garofalo , victims often know their attacker.
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The majority of violent incidents reported by victims in , excluding incidents of spousal violence, involved neither a weapon nor an injury. Violent incidents resulting in injury were less frequent than incidents involving a weapon. Causing injury or the presence of a weapon are two elements that can be used to measure the seriousness of a violent crime.
In particular, these criteria are used to classify the different levels of physical assault and sexual assault under the Criminal Code. In , victims who reported being emotionally affected by the incident were asked four subsequent questions about the long-term effects of victimization based on the Primary Care Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD Screen see Text box 4. Although it is not possible to diagnose PTSD based on the results of these questions, they do inform us about the long-term effects of victimization.
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Studies of those affected have found that PTSD is associated with impaired physical health, decreased quality of life and increased mortality Prins et al. Victims were asked whether they had experienced the following as a result of their victimization:. The tool is designed to assess whether an individual demonstrates key affects related to the core PTSD symptoms of re-experiencing, numbing, avoidance and hyperarousal.
In a clinical setting, a positive score on the PC-PTSD would indicate that the patient should be referred for more in-depth assessment and possible diagnosis. One-quarter of victims of violent crime were unable to continue their daily activities for at least one day, because they needed to receive care for an injury, regroup emotionally, replace stolen property, take legal action or for some other reason.
Financial loss is another consequence incurred by victims of violent crime. As with violent victimization, certain characteristics are related to whether a household is more or less likely to be the target of a crime.
A multivariate analysis was also carried out to identify which factors were associated with the risk of household victimization Model 2. As was the case for violent victimization, low social cohesion in a neighbourhood was associated with a higher risk of household victimization.
For example, the rate of household victimization was almost triple when neighbourhood social disorder was present than when it was not per 1, households compared to 70 per 1, As mentioned earlier, social disorder can be considered as a sign of low social cohesion Brown et al. Households residing in an apartment or condo recorded a lower risk of household victimization than people residing in single detached homes, and this was especially true for those residing in a building with 5 or more floors. Although, in general, apartments and condos tend to be located in CMAs, where victimization rates are higher, this type of housing is likely to provide some protection.
Second, there is generally little or no outside space with properties of this type that could be the target of theft or vandalism Weisel In contrast, household victimization rates were higher among tenant households than among households owning their dwelling incidents per 1, households compared to The greater victimization risk among households renting their home remained even after taking other risk factors into account. The more members a household had, the greater was its likelihood of becoming the target of a household crime. The size of the household may be an indicator of the quantity of property that it owns.
Property owned is also property that can be stolen or vandalized. Compared to incidents of violent victimization, crimes targeting households were less likely to result in emotional or psychological consequences. Nevertheless, two-thirds of victims of household crimes reported one form or another of an emotional reaction, most often anger. Financial loss was the most frequent result of household crimes in Theft of personal property was the crime most frequently reported by Canadians among the eight offences measured by the GSS in The personal characteristics associated with higher levels of theft of personal property were often the same as those for violent crimes, although the impact of these characteristics was generally less significant than in the case of violent offences.
For example, as was the case for rates of violent victimization, the rate of theft of personal property varied with age, but did not really begin to decline until age High household income and living in a CMA were among the characteristics specifically associated with higher rates of theft of personal property. Most incidents of victimization, both violent and non-violent, never came to the attention of the police in In general, the more serious an incident, the greater the likelihood it came to the attention of the police.
Sexual assault was the notable exception to this trend. The reasons for not bringing an incident to the attention of the police varied somewhat depending on the type of crime. Reasons for not reporting incidents of household victimization to police appeared to be primarily linked to a somewhat low expectation of results. Lastly, victims of violent crime and property crime who did not report their victimization to the police gave reasons related to their expectations of the justice system.
A number of victims also confided in other people, such as family, friends, colleagues, clergy members, spiritual advisors, lawyers or doctors. Victimization rates, according to the GSS, in were lower than those recorded 10 years ago for almost all measured crimes, sexual assault being the only notable exception.
In general, victimization rates tended to be lower in the eastern provinces and higher in the western provinces. In , the GSS included new questions on childhood maltreatment as well as more detailed questions on drug use, homelessness and disabilities, including mental or psychological disabilities. All these factors were found to be strongly associated with the risk of violent victimization, as were binge drinking, low social cohesion and being young.
All of these factors also helped to explain higher violent victimization rates among Aboriginal males but could not completely explain higher rates experienced by Aboriginal females. These questions revealed that one in seven violent crime victims suffered symptoms consistent with a suspected PTSD. Among all measured offences, sexual assault was the least likely to be reported to police, with just one in twenty being brought to the attention of the police. Table 1 Victimization incidents reported by Canadians, by type of offence, , , and Table 2 Victimization incidents reported by Canadians, by type of offence and province, Table 3 Victimization incidents reported by Canadians, by census metropolitan area, Table 4 Personal victimization incidents reported by Canadians, by type of offence and selected demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, Table 5 Personal victimization incidents reported by Canadians, by type of offence, history and selected health characteristics, Table 6 Victimization incidents reported by Canadians, by selected household, dwelling and neighbourhood characteristics, Table 7 Violent victimization incidents reported by Canadians, by selected characteristics of the incident, Table 9 Victimization incidents reported by Canadians, by reporting to the police and type of offence, , , , and Table 10 Reasons for not reporting victimization incidents to the police, by type of offence, Model 1 Logistic regression: risk of violent victimization, by selected characteristics, Model 2 Logistic regression: risk of household victimization, by selected characteristics, Allen, M.
Statistics Canada Catalogue no. Boyce, J. Brown, B. Perkins and G. Charron, M. Cohen, L. Desai, S. Forrest, R. Garofalo, J. Government of Canada. Justice Canada. Discussion paper. Lilly, J.