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Statistics & Sexualized Violence

Did you know?

Sexual assault is more common than you think

  • One in three Canadian women will experience sexual assault in their life.1
  • In the 2014 General Social Survey on Canadian’s Safety (GSS), 635,000 incidents of sexual assault were reported. 71% of incidents were unwanted sexual touching, 21% were sexual attacks and 9% were incidents where the victim was unable to consent (for example, due to drugs or intoxication).2
  • Sexual assault is not decreasing. Victimization rates from 2004 to 2014 declined for all crimes except sexual assault.3

Sexual assault is rarely reported to the police

  • Only 5% of sexual assaults are reported to the police.4
  • Men report less frequently than women. Several Justice Canada studies have found that 70% of male survivors compared to 59% of female survivors did not report adult sexual assault or abuse to the police.5
  • Police reported sexual assaults per quarter increased by 25% following media attention to the #MeToo movement in 2017. The vast majority of these reports were related to recent incidents (47% occurred on the day of reporting and 26% within the month before reporting).6

Sexual assault is a gendered crime

  • Sexual  assault disproportionately affects women.Women and girls are five times more likely to experience sexual assault than men.7
  • 87% of sexual assaults reported in the 2014 GSS were committed against women.8
  • There are also different rates of sexual assault based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2014, lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals were over two times more likely to be sexually assaulted.9
  • In one Ontario-based study, 20% of trans people surveyed experienced physical or sexual assault due to their gender identity.10
  • The 2015 US Transgender Survey found that 47% of transgender people experience sexual assault in their lifetime. These numbers are even higher when people are impacted by multiple forms of discrimination; the survey found that 48% of Latinx trans people, 53% of Black trans people, and 61% of disabled trans people had been sexually assaulted.11
  • Sexual assault is more likely to be committed by a male offender – the 2014 GSS found that 94% of offenders were male.12

Not all women experience sexual assault at the same rate

  • Young women are particularly vulnerable – 47% of sexual assault incidents in 2014 were committed against women aged 15-24.13
  • Aboriginal women reported a rate of 113 incidents of sexual assault per 1000 population in the 2014 GSS. This rate increased to one in five (22%) for young Aboriginal women aged 15-24.14
  • Bisexual women were seven times more likely than heterosexual women to report experiencing sexual assault in the 2014 GSS.15
  • Women with disabilities are almost twice as likely (56 incidents per 1000 population) as women without a disability (29 per 1000) to have been sexually assaulted.16 
  • Students report high rates of sexual assault. In the 2014 GSS, 41% of sexual assaults were reported by students.17 Another study estimated that between 15-25% of North American college and university aged-women are estimated to experience some form of sexual assault during their academic career.18
  • The risk of experiencing sexual violence on university and college campuses increases for women who experience multiple forms of identity-based marginalization, including Aboriginal women, women with disabilities and transgender women.19

Sexual assault results in long term trauma

  • In 2014, one in six survivors of sexual assault reported experiencing long-term effects consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder.20
  • The most common emotional consequences included feeling angry (35%), trying hard not to think about the incident or going out of the way to avoid situations that reminded the victim of the incident (29%), feeling upset, confused and frustrated (21%). 25% of sexual assault survivors reported that they had difficulty carrying out everyday activities due to the incident.21
  • Only 13% of sexual assault survivors (compared to 26% of physical assault survivors) reported that they were not affected emotionally by the sexual assault.22 


1. Statistics Canada (2006) Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006 (Ottawa, ON: Minister of Industry) at 24,
2. Statistics Canada (2017), “Self-reported sexual assault in Canada, 2014” The Daily, July 11 2017, at
3. Statistics Canada (2015), “Self-reported victimization, 2014” The Daily, November 23 2015, at
4. Self-reported sexual assault in Canada, supra note 2.
5. Northcott, Melissa, 2013, “A Survey of Sexual Assault Survivors” Victims of Crime Research Digest, Issue No. 6, at
6. Rotenberg, Cristine and Adam Cotter, 2018, “Police reported sexual assaults in Canada before and after #MeToo, 2016 and 2017” Juristat no. 85-002-X, at
7. Perreault, Samuel, 2015, “Criminal victimization in Canada, 2014” Juristat no. 85-002-x, at
8. Ibid.
9. Self-reported sexual assault in Canada, supra note 2.
10. G. Bauer, et al. Who are trans people in Ontario? Toronto: Trans PULSE E-Bulletin; 2010. Report No.: 1(1).
11. James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.
12. Criminal victimization in Canada, supra note 7.
13. Ibid.
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid.
16. Cotter, Adam, 2018, “Violent Victimization of women with disabilities, 2014” Juristat no. 85-002-X, at
17. Self-reported sexual assault in Canada, 2014, supra note 2.
18. Lichty, L., Campbell, R. and Schuiteman, J., 2008, “Developing a University-Wide Institutional Response to Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence” Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 36:1-2, at 6.
19. Gunraj, A., 2014, “Sexual Assault Policies on Campus: A discussion paper”, October 30, 2014, Metrac Action on Violence.
20. Self-reported sexual assault in Canada, supra note 2.
21. Ibid.
22. Ibid.