Measuring violence against women:
Edited by Maire Sinha Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics
Released on February 25, 2013
Violence against women has been recognized, at both the national and international levels, as a serious and ongoing impediment to gender equality and women’s human rights and fundamental freedoms (United Nations 1993). By understanding the various dimensions of this global problem through data collection and analysis, decision makers are better able to develop and evaluate measures designed to prevent and eliminate violence against women.
In particular, measures based on gender-specific data analysis can more effectively address factors associated with violence against girls and women, as well as the particular needs of victims. Previous research has consistently shown that violence against women differs in important ways from violence against men, notably who is most often the perpetrator (e.g., family, acquaintance, or stranger), where this victimization occurs (within or outside the home), and the types of offences (Johnson 2006, Johnson and Dawson 2011). Other key gender differences include the severity of the violence and consequences of victimization (Vaillancourt 2010, Johnson and Dawson 2011).
Gender-based analysis on violence against women, while helping to inform policies and programs, can also serve to increase general awareness on the nature and extent of violence against women in the Canadian context.
In 2000, the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers responsible for Status of Women commissioned Statistics Canada to develop a set of statistical indicators on violence against women aimed at establishing benchmarks for monitoring changes over time and highlighting emerging issues. These indicators were first published in a report entitled Assessing Violence Against Women: A Statistical Profile (2002).The report was subsequently updated and expanded in 2006. The current report represents the third edition of this profile, which sets out to examine the current scope, nature and consequences of violence against women in Canada, as well as trends in women’s experiences of violence.
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