Ontario has lowest rate of family violence: StatsCan

Ontario had the lowest rate of family violence in 2010, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

There were 196 victims of police reported family violence per 100,000 of population in Ontario, compared with a Canada-wide rate of 294 victims per 100,000, according to the report. Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia were the only other two provinces that came in with a rate under the national average.

At the other end of the scale, Nunavut had 3,409 victims per 100,000 followed by Northwest Territories with 2,455. Yukon and Saskatchewan were next with 842 and 644 victims per 100,000 respectively.

Statistics Canada reported 99,000 family violence victims in total nationwide, accounting for one quarter of all victims of violent crime reported to police. About half the family victims were spouses, with the other half made up of children, parents, siblings or extended family members.

For the first time, the study also drilled down to census metropolitan areas, consisting of urban centres and their surrounding areas. Overall, the rate of family violence in CMAs was 232 per 100,000. In non-CMAs, which include small cities, towns, and rural areas, the rate almost doubled to 436 per 100,000. With a rate of 98 per 100,000, the Ottawa CMA recorded the lowest rate of family violence in the country. Saint John, N.B., had the highest rate among CMAs, at 420 per 100,000, more than four time higher than Ottawa.

The report found the risk of becoming a victim of family violence was more than doubled for females compared with men, with 407 victims per 100,000 women and 180 per 100,000 men. The distinction was starkest in the 25-34 year age group, where there were 709 female victims per 100,00 compared with 216 per 100,000 males. Women accounted for 70 per cent of the victims of family violence, and 81 per cent of all spousal abuse victims, according to the report.

Not all reports result in charges, but Statistics Canada found charges were more likely in incidents involving family members. In 2010, 56 per cent of accused family members were charged, compared with a 43-per-cent rate when the accused was unrelated. Charges were also more like when the family violence victim was female, with 60 per cent of accused charged, compared with 46 per cent when the victim was male.

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