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revised January 27, 2012
Family Violence

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Facts and Figures Sexual Assault

  • 25% of women have experienced physical violence at the hands of a current or former partner (Canadian Panel on Violence, 1993).
  • 50% of women reporting physical assault have also experienced sexual assault in the same relationship (Statistics Canada, 1993).
  • 1in 6 pregnant women are abused during pregnancy (Middlesex – London Task Force Report, 2000)
  • On average, 40 women are killed in Ontario each year by a current or former partner, accounting for 75% of all female homicides.
  • Children from violent homes experience serious emotional and behavioural problems at rates of 10 to 17 times greater than children from non-violent homes (National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, 1999).
  • In Canada , the financial burden of woman abuse amounts to over $4 billion a year (Centre for Research on Violence against Women and Children, 1995).

To address the issue of Violence against Women in the Region of Peel, Peel Public Health is encouraging health care professionals to ask all women about abuse, whether or not indicators of abuse are present.

For more information on Family Violence call:
Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700

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Myths and Facts

Myth #1: Woman abuse is more common among certain groups of women.

Fact: Woman abuse happens regardless of age, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, marital status, religion, or sexual orientation. However, young women under the age of 25 are often at greatest risk of abuse and spousal homicide (Statistics Canada).

Myth #2: Woman abuse is not a health issue.

Fact: Woman abuse is a growing public health and social concern. An estimated 25% of Canadian women have experienced violence at the hands of current or past marital partner since the age of 16. The effects of woman abuse can result in a combination of negative physical, emotional, and psychological health outcomes.

Myth #3: Pregnancy is a time when women are safe from abuse.

Fact: Pregnancy increases women's vulnerability to violence and abuse. According to Statistics Canada, 21% of assaulted women reported being assaulted during pregnancy. Many women further reported that they were first abused when their pregnancy began.

Myth #4: Women who separate from their abusive partners or spouses are no longer at risk for abuse.

Fact: The most dangerous time for a woman in an abusive relationship is the first 3-4 months following separation. If you or someone you know is planning on leaving an abusive relationship, Peel agencies can help.

Myth #5: Woman abuse occurs because of alcohol or drug use by the abuser.

Fact: Drug and alcohol abuse are separate issues. While men will often use drug or alcohol use as excuses for their abusive behavior, woman abuse occurs because of the abuser's desire to establish and maintain power and control in the relationship. Ending the abuser's drinking or alcohol problems will not end the abusive behavior. They must be seen and treated as separate issues.

Myth #6: If an abused woman really wanted to leave the relationship, she would.

Leaving an abusive relationship can be very difficult and potentially dangerous. Many reasons exist for why women stay in the abusive relationship, including:

  • Fear her partner will harm her.
  • Fear that she might lose her children.
  • Financial dependency on her partner/spouse.
  • Not feeling she has anywhere to go.
  • Shame that the community might 'find out'.
  • Guilt for breaking up the family unit.

Myth #7: Woman abuse is a private matter and no one else’s business

Fact: Woman abuse affects the whole community and is considered a criminal offense. Within Canada, certain categories of abuse, such as physical abuse, sexual abuse/assault and criminal harassment (stalking) are crimes under the Criminal Code of Canada.

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Revised: January 27, 2012

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