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Online Training Lesson #4: Fact Facts on Violence in Aboriginal Families

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Fact Facts on Violence in Aboriginal Families


  • First Nation and Inuit women in particular experience higher rates of family violence than non-Aboriginal women. In 2004, research showed that Aboriginal women were three and half times more likely to suffer some form of spousal violence than non-Aboriginal women. (Statistics Canada, Juristat,Catalogue No. 85-002-XIE, Vol. 26, no. 3);
  • A 1989 study by the Ontario Native Women’s Association found that 8 out of 10 Aboriginal women in Ontario had personally experienced family violence. Of those women, 87% had been injured physically and 57% had been sexually abused (Ontario Native Women’s Association, 1989);
  • In some northern Aboriginal communities, it is believed that between 75% and 90% of women are battered (Dumont-Smith and Sioui-Labelle, 1991);
  • 40% of children in northern Aboriginal communities had been physically abused by a family member (Dumont-Smith and Sioui-Labelle, 1991);
  • 21% of Aboriginal people reported that a current or ex-spouse had assaulted them in the past five years, compared to 6% of the non-Aboriginal population (Statistics Canada, Juristat,Catalogue No. 85-002-XIE, Vol. 26, no. 3);
  • Almost 1/2 of Aboriginal victims of spousal violence experienced potentially life-threatening violence at the hands of a current or ex-partner compared with 31% of non-Aboriginal victims of spousal violence. (National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence http://www.thehealingjourney.ca/inside.asp?129);
  • Aboriginal people are almost three times more likely than non-Aboriginal people to report being assaulted by a spouse, and more often by an ex spouse than a current one (Statistics Canada, 2001);
  • Aboriginal women are twice as likely as Aboriginal men to report being a victim of spousal violence (Statistics Canada, 2001);
  • Almost half of Aboriginal victims of spousal violence reported that they had experienced life-threatening violence. While 2 of 5 victims were physically injured as a result, only 1 in 5 received medical attention (Statistics Canada, 2001);
  • Half reported that their child had witnessed the violence and a full third of spousal violence victims feared for their lives (Statistics Canada, 2001);
  • According to a London, Ontario, area study, 71 per cent of the urban sample and 48 per cent of the reserve sample of Oneida women had experienced assault at the hands of current or past partners http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ch/rcap/sg/si7_e.html);
  • For a study reported in 1991, 61 Aboriginal women were recruited by Aboriginal agencies in Lethbridge, Alberta. Of this non-random sample, 91 per cent of the respondents said they had personal experience with family violence. While these women identify psychological and verbal abuse as the most common, (ranging from blaming at 88 per cent to swearing at 82 per cent), a significant number had also been subjected to slapping (77 per cent), hitting (64 per cent), and punching (54 per cent). Sixteen per cent reported being touched unwillingly and being forced into sex with partners (http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ch/rcap/sg/si7_e.html);
  • An analysis of data from Statistics Canada’s 1991 Aboriginal peoples survey indicated the proportion of Aboriginal people identifying certain social issues as a problem in their communities – 36 to 44 per cent of Aboriginal people saw family violence as a problem; 22 to 35 per cent of Aboriginal people saw sexual abuse as a problem in their community. Unemployment and alcohol and drug abuse were the only problems eliciting higher levels of concern among Aboriginal people in this survey http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ch/rcap/sg/si7_e.html).