Sexual Violence in Saskatchewan: Who’s being assaulted?
In 2017, we partnered with the Community-Institute for Social Research at the University of Saskatchewan to conduct a comprehensive study of sexual violence in Saskatchewan.
Our research project examined instances of sexual assault among individuals in Saskatchewan, the context surrounding these assaults, the services used by sexual assault survivors, and their satisfaction with these services. The surveys examined sexual assault experiences from the perspective of survivors, their relatives, and service providers.
Below is a summary of our findings regarding who is experiencing sexual violence in Saskatchewan:
- Women represented the majority of victims of sexual violence at 88.35%. Of all their sexual assault experiences, more than half (53.9%) occurred when primary survivors were between the ages of 13 and 24 years.
- Children and youth survivors (under 18 years old) reported being assaulted most often by someone they knew such as a family member (34.4%), an acquaintance (24%), and a friend (23.2%). These assaults happened most frequently in their homes and schools.
- Adult survivors reported being assaulted most often by strangers (26.6%), acquaintances (21.8%), and intimate partners (20.5%). More than half (66%) of primary survivors reported being sexually assaulted multiple times as adults.
Where do survivors of sexual violence in Saskatchewan go to seek help?
Based on our research findings, survivors of sexual violence seek help in three ways:
- Disclosure of sexual assault experiences. The vast majority (71.1%) of primary told someone about their assault. The majority of these disclosures were made to friends (79.3%) and family members (57.7%) followed by counsellors at 45.7%.
- Fewer than 1/3 of primary survivors (23.7%) made a formal report to municipal police or to the RCM. Survivors shared multiple reasons for not choosing to report formally including fear of not being believed, being blamed for the assault, shame or embarrassment, fear of retaliation from perpetrator, etc.
- Almost half (49%) of primary survivors accessed at least one form of services and supports in relation to a sexual assault incident. The most commonly used services by primary services were Mental Health/Counseling (67.5%), Sexual Assault Centre/Counsellor (44.7%), Family Member (40.8%), Victim Services (28.2%), Police (27.2%), Medical Doctor/Nurse (24.8%), Teacher/School Counsellor (16%), and Hospital/Health Centre (14.1%).