Understanding the prevalence of sexual assault in our community is important, here are some statistics to understand the nature of sexual violence

  • 1 in 3 women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime (World Health Organization, 2016)
  • 1 in 6 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime (1in6 Project, 2016)
  • A majority of sexual assaults occur in a residence, or commercial establishment by someone known to the victim (Statistics Canada, 2014).
  • Only 5% of sexual assaults in 2014 were reported to police. Whereas robberies, break-ins and car thefts were reported to police at least 44% of the time (Statistics Canada, 2014)
  • 94% of sexual assaults are committed by a male perpetrator. This is more than other violent crimes such as physical assaults (82%) (Statistics Canada, 2014)
  • Rates of sexual assault have remained stable over the past 10 years (Statistics Canada, 2014).
  • Only 2-8% of rape claims are false reports. (Lonsway, 2009)
  • 67% of all Canadians say they personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted. (Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2012)
  • Close to 7 in 10 victims of spousal violence turned to informal sources of support outside the criminal justice system for help. (Statistics Canada, 2009)
  • Alcohol is the most common date rape drug used in drug facilitated sexual assaults. (Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, 2012)


  • Almost all Canadians (96%) believe all sexual activities should be consensual yet only 1 in 3 Canadians understand what it means to give consent (Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2015).
  • According to Canadian law, consent should be both positive (e.g. saying yes, initiating and/or enjoying sexual activity) and ongoing (e.g. continues during the sexual activity). Only 1 in 3 (33%) survey respondents identified both of these traits as forms of consent (Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2015).
  • While most Canadians (97%) believe consent is required for sexual activity between people on a casual date or between new partners, 1 in 10 Canadians believe consent to sexual activity is not needed between long-term partners and spouses (Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2015).
  • 1 in 5 Canadians between the ages of 18 to 34 believe if a woman sends an explicit photo through email or text, this always means she is giving consent to a sexual activity. (Canadian Women’s Foundation, 2015).

Marginalized Populations

  • In a study comparing the rates of instances of sexual and physical assault among women with and women without disabilities, women with disabilities were four times more likely to have experienced a sexual assault than women without disabilities. (DAWN Canada, 2006).
  • According to the 2014 General Social Survey on victimization, it recorded a sexual assault rate of 115 incidents per 1,000 population, much higher than the rate of 35 per 1,000 recorded by their non-Aboriginal counterparts. (Statistics Canada, 2014)
  • Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are at higher risk for sexual assault, and harassment. In a study by EGALE (2011) it found that levels of sexual harassment are high across the board for LGBTQ students. The following groups of students reported having experienced sexual harassment in school in the last year: 49% of trans students, 43% of female bisexual students, 42% of male bisexual students, 40% of gay male students, 33% of lesbian students (EGALE Canada, 2011)


Canadian Women’s Foundation (2012)

Women’s Foundation (2015)

DAWN Canada (2006)

EGALE Canada (2011). Every class in every school: Final report on the first national climate survey on homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in canadian schools. Toronto, Ont: Egale Canada Human Rights Trust.

Lonsway (2009) False Reports: Moving Beyond the Issue to Successfully Investigate and Prosecute Non-Stranger Sexual Assault.

Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (2012)

Statistics Canada (2009) Self-reported spousal violence.

Statistics Canada (2014) Criminal victimization in Canada.

World Health Organization (2016) Violence against women.

1in6 Project (2016) The statistic.