More than half of northerners report being assaulted: StatsCan

More than half of the people living in Canada’s three territories say they have been sexually or physically assaulted, Statistics Canada reports. 

The federal statistics agency on Wednesday released a report quoting data from the 2018 Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces, which was designed to investigate gender-based violence across the country.

In that survey, 52 percent of women and 54 percent of men in the territories reported being victims of at least one sexual or physical assault since they were 15 years old.


Those residents were also more likely to report health issues, drug and alcohol use, or homelessness.

For both men and women in the territories, 7.8 percent of respondents said they had been victims of physical or sexual assault in the year preceding the survey.

Comparatively, in the provinces, 39 percent of women and 35 percent of men reported having been assaulted at least once since the age of 15.

Around four percent of men and women in the provinces said they had been assaulted in the 12 months preceding the survey.

Assaults underreported

Women in the territories were three times more likely to report being sexually assaulted than men, data from the survey suggested.


Women who identified as LGBTQ2+, who experienced childhood violence, and women with a physical or mental disability were the most likely to report having been sexually assaulted.

People who identified with more than one of those groups experienced higher rates of violence, the report noted. For example, 75 percent of LGBTQ2+ people with a disability reported being sexually or physically assaulted since the age of 15.

The survey found that most reports of physical and sexual assault were not brought to police.

Around a third of people who had been physically assaulted said the incident was relayed to police. Only 13 percent of people who had been sexually assaulted said they made the police aware.

The majority of people who had been physically or sexually assaulted said they talked to at least one other person about the incident, usually a family member or friend. 

Yukoners most likely to report assaults

Among the territories, people living in the Yukon were the most likely to report having been assaulted – 61 percent of both men and women – according to Statistics Canada.

In the Northwest Territories, 52 percent of women and 55 percent of men reported being assaulted, while in Nunavut those figures fell to 42 percent of women and 46 percent of men.

The report notes, however, that some studies suggest intergenerational violence and trauma caused by colonization and residential schools have led to a normalization of violence among Inuit women.

The report’s authors believe this could have caused an underreporting of violent victimization in the territory.