Key facts from the Child Abuse and Protection report on Canada written by KARA’s volunteer Macalaster College student (Lelde) in 2009
* Close to one third of Canadian teens reported some kind of abuse or neglect,
* Children know their abusers in eight out of ten cases,
* Canada experiences 2200/100,000 investigations of child abuse (about half the U.S. statistic 4500/100,000),
KARA is looking for a reporter to follow child abuse and child protection issues in Canada;
Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org All Adults are the protectors of all children
* it is estimated that only one in ten abused children is ever reported in Canada. If that statistic holds true in the U.S., 32 million children would be reported abused annually in a systems that is already overwhelmed at ten percent of that number.
Most Canadian jurisdictions now categorize exposure to family violence as a distinct type of maltreatment in their child welfare legislation.
I would agree with this entirely. A child watching mom beaten or raped is traumatized.
Trauma is real and results in severe and lasting mental health development problems. The world health organization defines torture as extended exposure to violence and deprivation. Children watching their mothers beaten or raped, it may be argued, are being tortured.
In my experience as a CASA guardian ad-Litem, our county was just too overwhelmed to adequately address this type of abuse. The desire is there, but there was no way the case loads and court loads could accommodate these children.
Without significant signs of bodily harm, I never saw a confirmed case of child abuse where a child was removed from the home because of what had happened to the mother (or father).
Another significant piece of verbage;
“Makes child abuse an aggravating factor for the purpose of sentencing”,
as a guardian ad-Litem, I was repeatedly forced to choose between criminal court with a seven year old defendant and questionable removal of the child from the home (and prosecution of the perpetrator), or child protection court with automatic removal (either/or).
The people (multiple cases over twelve years) I witnessed molesting and torturing children were never charged. Most of them did terrific damage to a number of children over many years.Day care workers are paid about the same as food service workers in America (the lowest paid employees in the U.S.). This is how we value children in America.
Buy, or listen to our book (for free)
As Pliny the Elder said 2500 years ago, “what you do to your children, they will do to your society”
Child Abuse and Neglect in Canada: Data and Statistics
Physical child abuse statistics are difficult to determine. While hospitals and other public institutions often do their duty and report child abuse letting the social workers investigate the reported allegations, thousands of children are abused behind closed doors. According to Valpy, ‘the numbers of child abuse deaths in Canada are under-reported–the result of, among other things, non-existent national standards and death review mechanisms’.
Following is just some statistics on child abuse and neglect in Canada over the time span of approximately 10 years.
Trocme and associates in a model study of child abuse reports in Ontario found the incidence of investigated cases to be 21 per 1000 children. Child abuse was substantiated in 27% of these cases, suspected in 30% and found unsubstantiated in 42%. Almost 41% of the cases involved physical abuse, 21% sexual abuse, 30% neglect and 10% emotional maltreatment.
A conservative estimate, based on the assumption that there exists an equal number of cases that remain unreported, is that there are approximately 94 000 Ontario children each year in situations that may be abusive. These findings help to place in context the calculation that 1 in 8 Canadian children experiences some sort of abuse. This figure represents 900 000 children.
In 1999, the McCreary Adolescent Health Survey found that 35% of girls and 16% of boys between grades 7 – 12 had been sexually and/or physically abused. Among girls surveyed, 17-year-olds experienced the highest rate of sexual abuse at 20%.
A study in 2001 on physical child abuse statistics estimated that 135,573 child maltreatment investigations by Social Service Agencies were conducted in Canada in 1998 and 45% of these were substantiated. Physical abuse accounted for 31% of all investigations made to child welfare agencies in Canada in 1998.
Physical child abuse was committed largely by biological parents: fathers were alleged perpetrators in 46% of substantiated cases of physical child abuse–mothers, 43%. The highest proportions of substantiated physical child abuse cases were in the adolescent age group: boys, 22% and girls, 18%.
A similar case study on Canadian physical child abuse revealed that an average of about 100 child homicides were documented by the police each year across the country between 1994-1998. From 1974 to 2000, 63% of the homicides of children/youth were committed by family members and 37% were committed by non-family members.
Of the non-family member perpetrators 37% were casual acquaintances, 27% strangers, and 20% close friends. Furthermore, the breakdown of perpetrators of physical assaults on children and youth as reported to police in 2000 were 53% acquaintances, 21% family members, and 20% strangers.
A study on Family Violence by the National Clearinghouse estimated that 1 out of every 3 female children and 1 out of every 6 male children in Canada will experience an unwanted sexual act before they reach adulthood.
Police-reported data for 2007 indicate that children and youth under the age of 18 were most likely to be physically or sexually assaulted by someone they know (85% of incidents). Nearly 53,400 children and youth were the victims of a police-reported assault in 2007, with about 3 in 10 incidents of assaults against children and youth perpetrated by a family member. When children and youth were victims of family violence, a parent was identified as the abuser in nearly 6 in 10 incidents.
Girls under the age of 18 reported higher rates of both physical and sexual assault by a family member than boys. In 2007, the rate of family-perpetrated sexual assault was more than 4 times higher for girls than for boys. Male family members were identified as the accused in a sizable majority of family-related sexual (96%) and physical assaults (71%) against children and youth.
Homicides of children and youth (under the age of 18) represented about 9% of all homicides in 2007. Most child and youth homicide victims were killed by someone they knew. In 2007, 41% of child and youth homicides were committed by a family member, 27% by someone known to the victim but other than a family member, 20% by strangers and the remaining 13% of child and youth homicides were unsolved.
Parents were the perpetrators in the majority of child and youth homicides committed by family members. Fathers (54%) were more likely than mothers (34%) to be the perpetrators. Infants under the age of one experienced higher rates of family homicide compared to older children. From 1998 to 2007, baby boys (35 per million population) had somewhat higher rates than baby girls (27 per million population).
In family homicides of infants, half of victims (51%) were killed by their mother and 47% by their father, whereas in family homicides of older children fathers were the most likely perpetrators.
Nearly 53,400 children and youth were the victims of a police-reported assault in 2007, with about 13,200 of these incidents perpetrated by a family member.
In 2007, the rate of police-reported physical and sexual assault4 against children and youth was higher than the rate for adults. In 2007, for every 100,000 young persons under 18 years of age, there were 833 victims of police-reported physical and sexual assault compared to 761 among adults. The highest rate of physical and sexual violence (1,628 per 100,000 population) was for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17—a rate more than 4 times that for children under the age of 12.
The difference in the assault rates between adults and children was largely due to rates of sexual assault. In 2007, the sexual assault rate for children and youth (193 per 100,000 population) was over 5 times higher than it was for adults (37 per 100,000 population). Adolescents aged 12 to 17 reported a rate of physical assault (1,333 per 100,000 population) that was nearly double that of adults (724 per 100,000 population).
Overall, in 2007, police-reported rates of physical assault by family members were somewhat higher for girls (149 per 100,000 population) than for boys (133 per 100,000 population). In addition, rates of family-related physical assault were higher among older youth, particularly for 12 to 17 year-olds. Among boys, the rate of physical assault by a family member peaked around the age of 14 (200 incidents per 100,000 population).
In comparison, the rate for girls was highest among 17 year-olds (364 per 100,000)—the highest rate of family-related physical assault for all children and youth, regardless of sex. The rate of family-related sexual assault against children and youth was more than 4 times higher for girls (107 per 100,000 population) than for boys (25 per 100,000 population). Young adolescent girls, particularly those between the ages of 12 and 15, were at greatest risk of sexual assault by a relative. Similar to previous years, the family-perpetrated sexual assault rate for boys was considerably lower than the rate for girls, regardless of age.
Children and youth who reported being victimized by a non-family member were more likely than those victimized by a family member to have been physically injured. According to police-reported data for 2007, nearly half (48%) of children and youth violently victimized by someone other than a relative sustained physical injuries, compared to 40% of those victimized by a family member.
Furthermore, boys (46%) were more likely than girls (36%) to be injured as a consequence of family-perpetrated violence.
In their 2001 report on Family Violence in Canada, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics found that children who are exposed to physical violence in their homes are:
• more than twice as likely to be physically aggressive as those who have not had such exposure;
• more likely to commit delinquent acts against property
• more likely to display emotional disorders and hyperactivity
University of Victoria’s Sexual Assault Centre posts the following childhood sexual abuse statistics:
• 1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males in Canada experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18.
• 80% of all child abusers are the father, foster father, stepfather or another relative or close family friend of the victim.
• Incestuous relationships last 7 years on average
• 75% of mothers are not aware of the incest in their family
• 60-80% of offenders in a study of imprisoned rapists had been molested as children
• 80% of prostitutes and juvenile delinquents, in another study, were sexually abused as children.
A study on child abuse in 2007 investigating the statistics over the time span of one year revealed the following statistics:
• 31.2% of the male children said they were abused
• 21.1% of the female children said they were abused
• 10.7% of the girls reported they were subjected to severe physical abuse
• 9.2% of the boys reported they were subjected to severe physical abuse
• 12.8% of the girls admitted to having experienced sexual abuse
• 4.3% of the boys admitted to having experienced sexual abuse
• In total, 33% of the boys and 27% of girls said they experienced abuse in some form or the other.
In their 2001 report on Family Violence in Canada, The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics found that:
• 69% of substantiated physical abuse involved inappropriate punishment
• 68% of substantiated sexual abuse involved touching and fondling
• 58% of substantiated emotional maltreatment involved exposure to family violence
• 48% of substantiated cases of neglect primarily involved failure to supervise the child properly, which lead to physical harm
In their 2001 report on Family Violence in Canada, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics found that family members, including relatives, constituted the vast majority (93%) of alleged perpetrators. Another statistical study conducted in 2001 by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics found that:
• among family assaults parents were the perpetrators in 56% of physical assaults against youths and 43% of sexual assaults against youth victims 12 to 17 years of age;
• siblings were responsible for approximately 25% of physical and 26% of sexual assaults in the family that were perpetrated against youth
• extended family members committed 8% of physical, and 28% of sexual assaults against youth
Although the overall number of children murdered in Canada is very low, according to Public Health Agency of Canada and based on Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2003 and Canadian Center for Justice Statistics, the breakdown of murders of children in year 2001 is the following :
Biological fathers 16
Biological mothers 16
Other family 3
Total non-family homicides 26
Total solved homicides 69
According to Statistics Canada, a child dies every week in Canada at the hands of a caregiver. Similarly, 70% of children who are victims of homicide are killed before the age of 5. 80% of abusers are known to their child victims and more than 90% of child abuse cases are unreported.
Canadian Statistics on Child Abuse. Accessible online at: http://www.irvingstudios.com/child_abuse_survivor_monument/PDFs%20for%20Media/a%202007%20StatisticsOnChildAbuse.pdf
Children and Youth in Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada, June 2001 (Catalogue no. 85F0033MIE)
Child Abuse. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Accessible online at:
Child Abuse and Neglect: Statistics. Canadian Children’s Rights Council. Accessible online at:
Child Abuse Prevention Website: Abuse Statistics. Accessible online at:
Canada Child Abuse Statistics: Not Just American Problem. Child Abuse Statistics Resource Online. Accessible online at: http://child-abuse-statistics.info/child-abuse-stastics/canada-child-abuse-statistics
Child Sexual Abuse Statistics, compiled by the National Advisory Council of Women, quoted by University of Victoria’s Sexual Assault Centre
McCreary Centre Society. Healthy Connections: Listening to BC Youth, 1999, p. 17.
Physical Child Abuse Statistics. Accessible online at: http://www.child-abuse-effects.com/physical-child-abuse-statistics.html
Day care workers are paid about the same as food service workers in America (the lowest paid employees in the U.S.). This is how we value children in America.
Buy, or listen to our book (for free)
Join our online group on children’s issues by sending an email to;
As Pliny the Elder said 2500 years ago, “what you do to your children, they will do to your society”