The majority of information on sexual offending against children and youth in Canada is based on police-reported incidents. Additional information is also found through child welfare data.
-- In 2009, children and youth 17 years of age and younger accounted for 58% of all victims of police-reported sexual offending in Canada.(2)-- In 2011, there were 9,597 incidents of police-reported sexual assault (Levels 1, 2 and 3, i.e. sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm, or aggravated sexual assault) against a child or youth, at a rate of 140 per 100,000.(3)-- In 2011, there were 3,822 incidents of police-reported sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual exploitation and luring a child via a computer, at a rate of 11 per 100,000. This rate represents a 3% increase from 2010.(4)-- In 2011, there were 3,132 incidents of police-reported child pornography, with a rate of 9 per 100,000. This reflects an increase of 40% in the rate between 2010 and 2011.(5) It should be noted that fluctuations in the rate of child pornography are most likely reflective of police-based programs and initiatives targeting this particular offence.
Police-reported incidents of sexual offending against children indicate the following:
-- The majority of child and youth victims know the offender. In 2011, 89% of child and youth victims of sexual assault were victimized by somebody other than a stranger.(6)-- In 2009, family members, including parents, siblings and other family members, were the perpetrators of sexual offending against children in 35% of cases.(7)-- The proportion of children and youth who are sexually assaulted by a family member generally decreases as children become older. In 2011, 56% of child victims of sexual assault 11 years old or younger were victimized by a family member. In comparison, 26% of youth victims of sexual assault ages 12 to 17 were victimized by a family member.(8)
Police-reported incidents of sexual offending against male and female children indicate the following:
-- Both male and female children and youth are victims of sexual offending; however, the majority of victims are female.-- The number of female victims of sexual assault generally increases as female youth become older. In 2011, the number of female victims of sexual assault began to notably increase at age 12, peaked at age 15, then began to decline. The number of male victims remains relatively stable throughout childhood and youth.(9)-- Girls are more likely than boys to experience sexual offending by a family member. In 2009, female children and youth were the victims of 79% of all sexual offending committed by a family member.(10)(1) Perreault, S., and S. Brennan. 2010. Criminal Victimization in Canada, 2009. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada. Last accessed January 30, 2013, from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2010002/article/11340- eng.htm#a18(2) "Sexual offending" is an umbrella term to include all offences of a sexual nature, that is sexual assault and other sexual offences such as sexual interference, sexual exploitation, invitation to sexual touching, luring a child via a computer, incest, voyeurism, corrupting children, anal intercourse, and bestiality, and unknown other sexual offences. -Statistics Canada. 2011. Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada. Last accessed January 30, 2013 from: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-224-x/85-224-x2010000-eng.pdf These points are based on full-year data submitted by police services representing 99% of the population of Canada.(3) Sexual assault includes only the three levels of sexual assault as defined in the Criminal Code and does not include other sexual offences. -Data obtained through a special request to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, October 2012; based on data submitted by police services representing 99% of the population of Canada.(4) Brennan, S. 2012. Police-Reported Crime Statistics in Canada, 2011. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada. Last accessed January 30, 2013 from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2012001/article/11692-eng.pdf(5) Data obtained through a special request to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, August 2012.(6) Ibid., 4.(7) Ibid., 3.(8) Ibid., 4.(9) Ibid., 4.(10) Ibid., 3.