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;
  • 59% of senior victims of family violence were senior women, with a rate 24% higher than that of senior menFootnote 8; 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 9 Remote and isolated communities face particular challenges related to access and availability of support.Footnote 10

Share the facts

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 one’s physical and mental health. • Chronic physical or mental illness • Depression and anxiety • Substance use • Unintended pregnancy • Sexually transmitted infections • Social isolation
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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