Via Holly Desimone… 70% of Victims are Women

Female victims seek help: Study

By MEGAN GILLIS, Ottawa Sun

Most Canadian crime victims seeking help are female, a first-ever national survey of services shows. Statistics Canada’s “snapshot” shows that three-quarters of the 4,400 crime victims seeking help on an October day a year ago were women and girls. When clients of sexual assault centres are factored out, females still accounted for seven in 10 victims seeking help. Eight in 10 were victims of violent crime and four in 10 were victimized by a spouse or former spouse, even though the study didn’t survey women’s shelters. “It underlines the extent to which violence against women remains a major social problem in Canada,” said Diana Davis, of the Regional Co-ordinating Committee to End Violence Against Women. “By failing to address inequality of women and girls, we’re not only allowing the violence to continue to destroy lives, but we’re spending millions of dollars after the fact.”

But Steve Sullivan, of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, said other crime victims are often forgotten. “I have sat in court with families of murder victims who have never heard of victim services,” he said. “Victims of armed robbery, victims of assault, the families of homicide victims — there are virtually no resources for people to help them.”

The study surveyed 484 police and court-based services, sexual assault centres and compensation programs. StatsCan estimates they helped nearly 360,000 people, three-quarters of them victims of violent crime, in 2002-03. Both Davis and Sullivan were frustrated that three-quarters of agencies had to rely on volunteer help. “It’s heartwarming so many people want to help but we don’t do that in other parts of the justice system,” Sullivan said. “Accused people are not represented by volunteers.”

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