Aboriginal People among Victims of Crimes

  • Aboriginal people make up about 4% of Canada’s population. In 2009, more than one-third (37%) of Aboriginal people reported having been a victim of at least one of eight selected criminal offences in the past 12 months (sexual assault, robbery, assault, break and enter, theft of motor vehicles or parts, theft of household property, vandalism and theft of personal property) in the provinces, according to data from the General Social Survey (GSS). Over the same period, 26% of non-Aboriginal people reported a criminal victimization.
  • Overall, the total victimization rate among Aboriginal people living in the provinces was much higher than non-Aboriginal people, at 232 per 1,000 population compared to 114 per 1,000 non-Aboriginals.
  • In the territories, overall violent victimization rates among Aboriginal people (252 per 1,000 population) was higher than among non-Aboriginal people (145 per 1,000 population).
  • Among the provinces, the risk of physical assaults for Aboriginal people was much greater than for non-Aboriginal victims for both non-spousal physical assaults in the (107 per 1,000 versus 58 per 1,000 respectively) and spousal physical assaults (141 per 1,000 versus 78 per 1,000 respectively).
  • Aboriginal people are also more likely than non-Aboriginal people to report being victimized multiple times. In 2009, nearly one-quarter (23%) of Aboriginal victims in the 10 provinces had been a victim of more than one non-spousal violent incident, compared to 19% of non-Aboriginal victims.
  • Aboriginal people were almost twice as likely as non-Aboriginal people to report being a victim of spousal violence in the five years preceding the survey (10% versus 6%) in the 10 provinces.
  • In the territories, 17% of Aboriginal people reported being a victim of spousal violence in the past 5 years, compared to 6% of non-Aboriginal people.
  • In 2009, Aboriginal women aged 15 and older living in the provinces were almost three times more likely than non-Aboriginal women to report having been a victim of a violent crime. This was true whether the violence occurred between strangers or acquaintances, or within a spousal relationship.
  • Also among those living in the provinces, about 15% of Aboriginal women who had a spouse or common-law partner in the past five years reported being a victim of spousal violence, more than twice the proportion among non-Aboriginal women and men (6% each,), and higher than the proportion for Aboriginal males (10%).
  • In the provinces, Aboriginal female victims of spousal violence were more likely than non-Aboriginal female victims to indicate that they had been injured as a result of their victimization. During the five years preceding the survey, 59% of Aboriginal women and 41% of non-Aboriginal women who experienced spousal violence were injured.
  • In 2009, the violent crime rate was 425 violent incidents for every 1,000 Aboriginal person aged 15 to 24 years in the provinces. The corresponding violent crime rate for non-Aboriginal people was 268 per 1,000.
  • More specifically, Aboriginal victims were nearly twice as likely to report being hit with an object, beaten, strangled, threatened or assaulted with a firearm or a knife, or forced to engage in an unwanted sexual act (60% for Aboriginal people versus 33% for non-Aboriginal people). Proportionally, twice as many Aboriginal victims as non-Aboriginal victims said they were injured (57% versus 29%), and more than twice as many said they feared for their lives (48% versus 18%).


  • Perreault, Samuel and Shannon Brennan. 2010. Canada Year Book, 2012. Accessed at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-402-x/2012000/chap/ap-pa/ap-pa-eng.htm 
  • Perreault, Samuel and Shannon Brennan. 2010. Criminal victimization in Canada, 2009. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics: Statistics Canada 85-002-X. Ottawa.
  • Perreault, Samuel. 2011. Violent victimization of Aboriginal people in the Canadian provinces, 2009. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics: Statistics Canada 85-002-X, Ottawa.
  • Perreault, Samuel and Tina Hotton Mahony, 2012. Criminal Victimization in the Territories, 2009. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics: Statistics Canada 85-002-X, Ottawa.
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