Gender-based violence (GBV) is violence committed against someone because of their gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender.  Patriarchy is the root cause of GBV, and is intensified by other forms of discrimination, including racism, colonialism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia and poverty.  Violence against women and girls is one form of GBV.  GBV also has a disproportionate impact on LGBTQQI2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and two-spirit) and gender non-conforming people.

Gender-Based Violence in Canada

Some populations are more at risk than others:

  • Young women aged 15-24 years are most at risk of experiencing police-reported violence
  • Indigenous women are twice as likely to be violently victimized as Indigenous men and approximately three times more likely to be violently victimized than non-Indigenous women or men.
  • Women with disabilities are 2 times more likely to self-report severe physical violence (i.e., beaten, kicked, bit or hit) and 3 times more likely to self-report being forced into sexual activity
  • People self-identifying as homosexual or bisexual are 3 times more likely than heterosexuals to be victims of self-reported violence
  • Transgender people are almost twice as likely to self-report ever experiencing intimate partner violence, compared to the average rate experienced by women
  • Senior women are at a higher risk of self-reported emotional and sexual abuse compared to senior men
  • Women living in the territories are victimized at a rate 8 times higher than those living in the provinces. Remote and isolated communities face particular challenges related to access and availability of support

While newcomer and migrant women and girls do not report higher rates of violence, they may be more vulnerable and less likely to report violence due to isolation, racism, language and cultural barriers, economic dependence, and a lack of knowledge about community resources.