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Aboriginal People as Victims of Crime in Canada

By Staff Reporter

Special Reports

Aboriginal peoples made up 4% of Canada‘s population in 2006 among whom 60% identified as First Nations, 33% as Métis, and 4% as Inuit.

This population is young compared to the rest of Canada with a median age of 27 compared to the Canadian median age of 40. Almost half (48%) of the Aboriginal population in Canada is under the age of 25.

The Aboriginal population in Canada grew by 45% between 1996 and 2006, almost six times faster than the growth rate among the non-Aboriginal population.

The unemployment rate among the Aboriginal population was nearly double that of the non-Aboriginal population in 2007 (10.6% compared to 5.9%).

A larger proportion of Aboriginal people live in over-crowded homes than do non-Aboriginal people in Canada (11% versus 3%) as well as in homes in need of major repairs (23% versus 7%).

According to self-reported information from the 2009 General Social Survey (GSS), Aboriginal people were two times more likely than non-Aboriginal people to experience a violent victimization such as an assault, sexual assault or robbery (232 versus 114 incidents per 1,000 population).

Violent incidents were much more likely to be committed against younger Aboriginal people than they were against their older counterparts.  Those aged 15 to 34 years were nearly two and a half times more likely to experience a violent victimization compared to those who were 35 years and older (461 incidents versus 192 incidents per 1,000 population).

Violent incidents committed against Aboriginal people were more likely to have been perpetrated by someone who was known to the victim (56%), such as a relative, friend, neighbour or acquaintance, compared to violent incidents committed against non-Aboriginal victims (41%).  Aboriginal people were victimized by a stranger in 25% of all violent incidents, compared to 45% of incidents committed against non-Aboriginal victims.

The rate of self-reported spousal violence among self-identified Aboriginals decreased slightly from 12% in 2004 to 10% in 2009. In 2009, Aboriginal people were almost twice as likely to be the victim of spousal violence as non-Aboriginals.

Aboriginal people are much more likely to be victims of homicide than non-Aboriginal people. Between 1997 and 2000, the average homicide rate for Aboriginal people was 8.8 per 100,000 population, almost seven times higher than that for non-Aboriginal people (1.3 per 100,000 population).

Victimization in Canada’s Territories

According to the 2004 GSS, residents of the territories were three times more likely than provincial residents to experience a violent victimization such as sexual assault, robbery or physical assault (315 versus 106 incidents per 1,000 population).

Residents of the North experienced higher levels of spousal violence than their counterparts in the provinces. Approximately 12% of northern residents reported being the victim of some form of violence at the hands of a current and/or previous spouse or common-law partner in the five years preceding the survey. This compares to 7% of the population in the provinces.

Residents of Nunavut were far more likely to have been victims of spousal violence (22%) than residents of the Northwest Territories (11%) and the Yukon Territory (9%).

Similar to findings from the victimization survey, police-reported crime rates in the territories were substantially higher than rates in the rest of Canada. Specifically, in 2005, crime rates in the North were over four times higher than rates in the provinces (33,186 compared to 7,679 incidents per 100,000 population).

In 2005, the Northwest Territories had the highest police-reported crime rate among the three territories at 41,245 incidents per 100,000 population. This rate was 1.3 times higher than the rate in Nunavut, 1.8 times higher than that in Yukon and nearly three times higher than that in Saskatchewan, the province with the highest provincial crime rate (14,320).


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