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The Globe and Mail

Spousal violence affects almost 1.2 million: Statscan

The Globe and Mail, By TERRY WEBER, Thursday, July 14, 2005

more than one million Canadian women and men have been the victim of spousal violence over the past five years, Statistics Canada said Thursday.

The government agency also said the overall rate of spousal violence for the five-year period stretching from 1999 to 2004 has remained steady at 7 per cent.

That means an estimated 653,000 women and 546,000 men experienced some degree of violence at the hands of a current or former partner.

About three-quarters of people said the violent acts took place during marital or common-law unions, although half of women and one-third of men said the acts continued or occurred after separation.

Female victims were twice as likely as likely to be injured from spousal violence as men, the report said.

“Women were also three times more likely to fear for their life and twice as likely to be the targets of more than 10 violent episodes,” Thursday's report suggested.

Rates of violence varied among different segments of the population.

People between the ages of 15 and 24 were twice as likely to be victims of spousal abuse as those over the age of 35. Similarly, rates were three times higher in relationships of three years or less than in those which had lasted 10 years.

Spousal abuse was also three times more likely in common-law relationships than in marital unions, Statscan said.

The report also suggested that 11 per cent of women and 7 per cent of men aged 15 or older felt they were stalked in a way that caused them or someone close to them to fear for their safety.

“This was the equivalent of 1.4 million women and just under one million men,” Statscan said.

Nine per cent of women reported being stalked by either a current or previous spouse or common-law spouse. That was more than twice the proportion of men who reported the same problem.

Statscan also said, between 1961 and 2003, one in 10 solved homicide cases involved someone's killing themselves after taking another person's life. Three-quarters of the victims in those cases were family members.

Thursday's report also found that a person whose partner was a heavy drinker – someone who consumed five or Read More ..inks on five or Read More ..casions in one month – were six times more likely to experience spousal abuse than those whose partner never drank more than five drinks.