The Impacts and Consequences of Criminal Victimization

The impact and consequences of criminal victimization can involve physical injury, financial loss, and property damage, as well as psychological and emotional after-effects.

According to the 2009 GSS, 28% of victims of violent crime suffered injuries that resulted in their being unable to carry out their day-to-day activities.

2004 General Social Survey

According to the 2004 GSS, there were over two million violent incidents in Canada against persons 15 years of age and older, one-quarter of which resulted in an injury. Equal proportions of physical assault (31%) and robbery incidents (30%) resulted in an injury while incidents of sexual assault were less likely to involve a physical injury (7%).

Among violent incidents involving injuries, 24% were serious enough to require the victim to seek medical attention while 20% of incidents resulted in the victim requiring bed rest.

Violent victimization can also result in sleeping problems. The GSS showed that victims of violence (32%) were almost twice as likely to report sleeping problems during the month prior to the survey than persons who had not been a victim of a crime (17%). In addition, a larger proportion of female victims (37%) of violent victimization reported experiencing sleeping problems relative to their male counterparts (28%).

Not all violent incidents result in physical injury, but many may leave emotional scars.  Among those emotions that the violent incident did evoke, being angry (32%), being upset, confused or frustrated (20%), and feeling fearful (18%) were the most prevalent.  For about one in ten incidents, victims said their experience made them more cautious or aware (9%).

Another potential consequence of victimization is a decrease in one's feelings of personal safety.  According to the GSS, 37% of victims of a violent incident reported feeling very safe walking alone after dark, compared to 46% of those who had not been victimized. 

According to the 2004 GSS, just under one-third of victims of violence (30%) installed new locks or security bars while this was the case for 10% of non-victims.

More than eight out of 10 household or property-related incidents resulted in financial losses. The majority of incidents resulted in losses of under $500 (60%) while in 15% of household and property-related incidents losses of more that $1,000 were reported.

In addition to direct losses, property and household incidents are also costly when considering the time lost to replace damaged and/or stolen goods, or to wait for service or insurance agents. More than six out of 10 property and household-related incidents resulted in disruptions of the victim's day-to-day activities that exceeded six hours. A larger percentage of these non-violent incidents resulted in victims losing one day (38%) of normal activities, followed by 18% of incidents resulting in two days of disruption and a further 12% of incidents resulting in three days of disruption.

Based on data collected through Statistics Canada surveys, it is estimated that the total financial expenditures for administering policing, courts, legal aid, prosecutions and adult corrections totalled over $12 billion in 2002/2003. This total translates into $399 per Canadian. The majority of the funding was spent on policing (61%), followed by adult corrections (22%), courts (9%), legal aid (5%) and criminal prosecutions (3%).

According to a 2004 Canadian study, researchers estimated that the cost of pain and suffering experienced by victims of crime was close to $36 billion. Researchers used police and self-reported data to determine the emotional and physical impacts of victimization (Leung, 2004).

Emotional impacts of domestic violence

From the 2009 GSS, the emotions that were most often reported by victims of spousal violence were being upset, confused or frustrated because of the violence (32%), or angry (27%).

Spousal violence has a greater impact on female victims. Females were three times more likely than males to report that the violent incident had disrupted their daily routine.

Women were also less likely to report that the spousal violence had little impact in their lives. The 2009 GSS showed that 30% of men and only 9E% of women said that the violence had not affected them much.


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