About Gender-based Violence

Federal Strategy on Gender-based Violence

Experiencing violence can have devastating health and social impacts on the lives of individuals, families, communities and Canadian society as a whole.

Gender-based violence (GBV) involves the use and abuse of power and control over another personFootnote 1 and is perpetrated against someone based on their gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender. Violence against women and girls is one form of gender-based violence. It also has a disproportionate impact on LGBTQ2 (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and two-spirit) and gender-non conforming people.

Gender-based violence includes any act of violence or abuse that can result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering. Examples of forms of violence and abuse include:

  • physical violence;
  • sexual violence (including child sexual abuse, sexual harassment and sexual exploitation);
  • emotional and psychological violence (including threats and intimidation);
  • harassment;
  • online violence/technology-facilitated violence;
  • financial abuse; and
  • structural/systemic violence.

Some populations are more likely to experience violence and may face unique barriers and challenges that put them at particular risk. For example:

  • women are at a 20% higher risk of violent victimization than men when all other risk factors are taken into accountFootnote 2;
  • young women, aged 15-34 years, are at highest risk of experiencing violenceFootnote 3;
  • Indigenous women (10%) were more than three times as likely to report being a victim of spousal violence as non- Indigenous women (3%)Footnote 4. Indigenous identity is a key risk factor for victimization among women, even when controlling for the presence of other risk factors.Footnote 5;
  • women living with physical and cognitive impairments experience violence two to three times more often than women living without impairmentsFootnote 6;
  • people self-identifying as homosexual or bisexual are three times more likely than heterosexuals to be victims of violenceFootnote 7;
  • transgender people are almost twice as likely to report ever experiencing intimate partner violence, compared to the average rate experienced by women and menFootnote 8;
  • 59% of senior victims of family violence were senior women, with a rate 24% higher than that of senior menFootnote 9; and
  • women living in the territories are victimized at a rate eight times higher than those living in the provinces. Women living in the territories have a risk of violent victimization about 45% higher than men’s (when controlling for other risk factors).Footnote 10 Remote and isolated communities face particular challenges related to access and availability of support.Footnote 11

Share the facts

Young women aged 15-24 years are most at risk of experiencing violence.
Gender-based violence is violence perpetrated against someone based on their gender, gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender.
Gender-based violence is a product of an unequal society and is a barrier to achieving gender equality
Violence can have lifelong impacts on ones physical and mental health.
Women with disabilities are twice as likely to report severe physical violence.
Women living in the territories are victimized at a rate eight times higher than those living in the provinces.
People self-identifying as gay, lesbian or bisexual are 3 times more likely than heterosexuals to be victims of violence.
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