Sexual Assault Statistics in Canada

A Numerical Representation of the Truth

  • Of every 100 incidents of sexual assault, only 6 are reported to the police
  • 1 - 2% of "date rape" sexual assaults are reported to the police
  • 1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime
  • 11% of women have physical injury resulting for sexual assault
  • Only 2 - 4% of all sexual assaults reported are false reports
  • 60% of sexual abuse/assault victims are under the age of 17
  • over 80% of sex crime victims are women
  • 80% of sexual assault incidents occur in the home
  • 17% of girls under 16 have experienced some form of incest
  • 83% of disabled women will be sexual assaulted during their lifetime
  • 15% of sexual assault victims are boys under 16
  • half of all sexual offenders are married or in long term relationships
  • 57% of aboriginal women have been sexually abused
  • 1/5th of all sexual assaults involve a weapon of some sort
  • 80% of assailants are friends and family of the victim

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If a youth you work with reports a sexual assault to you, there are a few steps you can take as a professional:

(1) Suggest the youth report to the local emergency room. Advise youth of what they are likely to expect. What they are likely to expect is:
(a) they will be seen by a social worker who will sit with them until a nurse (a Sexual Assault Nurse or SANE Nurse) arrives. This nurse is trained to complete a physical exam and will collect evidence of an assault. This nurse is trained to be kind, gentle and compassionate in working with any woman who has experienced an assault. The exam usually takes anywhere from 2-4 hours.
(b) If the assault is very recent, try to ensure the youth does not wash, brush their teeth, eat or drink anything as this may tamper with evidence collected.
(c) The youth does not have to report the sexual assault to the police if they do not want to pursue charges at that time. However, the evidence will be stored for up to one year should the youth change their mind during that time. 
(d) MCFD will only become involved if the sexual assault is related to a lack of protection of the child.
(2) Be respectful of the youth's confidentiality. If a youth has confided in you, do not inform anyone else of the situation without their consent.
(3) If the youth would like to tell their parents but is afraid, be prepared to facilitate a conversation between the youth and family or have a counsellor facilitate this discussion.
(4) Be aware of potential backlash on the youth victim following a sexual assault. Many youth are bullied in person or online following an assault.

Ensure you continue to check in with the youth, even months after the assault. Depression, self-harm, suicide ideation and attempts are all potential outcomes following a sexual assault.