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Considerations for Aboriginal Women

Aboriginal Sexual Assault in Canada

Sexual assault and child sexual abuse are major challenges facing aboriginal native communities in Canada. Statistics show that aboriginal Canadians are at higher risk of being sexually assaulted, or the victims of child sexual abuse. For years, communities have pointed to the high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Aboriginal women face life-threatening, gender-based violence, and disproportionately experience violent crimes because of hatred and racism. 

According to Statistics Canada's 2004 General Social Survey (GSS), Aboriginal women experience much higher rates of violence than non-Aboriginal women. The following findings were also reported:

  • Aboriginal women 15 years and older are 3-5 times more likely to experience violence than non-Aboriginal women.
  • Rates of spousal assault against Aboriginal women are more than three times higher than those against non-Aboriginal women. 
  • Nearly one-quarter of Aboriginal women experienced some form of spousal violence in the five years preceding the 2004 GSS.

Statistics Canada reported that Aboriginal women are more likely to experience more severe and potentially life-threatening forms of family violence than non-Aboriginal women.

  • 54% of Aboriginal women reported severe forms of family violence, such as being beaten, being choked, having a had a gun or knife used against them, or being sexually assaulted, versus 37% of non-Aboriginal women. 
  • 44% of Aboriginal women reported "fearing for their lives" when faced with severe forms of family violence, compared with 33% of non-Aboriginal women. 
  • 27% of Aboriginal women reported experiencing 10 or more assaults by the same offender, as opposed to 18% of non-Aboriginal women. 
  • While the number of non-Aboriginal women reporting the most severe forms of violence declined from 43% in 1999 to 37% in 2004, the number of similar attacks against Aboriginal women remained unchanged at 54% during the same time period. 

Click here to find out more.


1. Sexual Assault Canada 

Aboriginal Victimization in Canada

2. Native Women's Association of Canada 

Factsheet - Violence Against Aboriginal Women