Violence Perpetrated by Ex-spouses in Canada

3. Results

3.1 The prevalence of ex-spousal violence

The data presented in this section can be found in Table 1 of the Appendix. In 2009, approximately 3 million Canadians indicated that they had been in contactFootnote 13 with an ex-marital or common-law spouse in the five years preceding their participation in the GSS. Among these individuals, approximately 534,000 (17%) reported that they experienced violence by their former spouse, either while living together or after separation. A significantly higher proportion of women (20%) than men (14%) reported violence by an ex-spouse, either while living together or after separation. These percentages are higher than the proportion of those who reported experiencing violence by a current marital or common-law spouse (4% of men and 3% of women with a current marital or common-law spouse).

The overall percentage of victims who reported ex-spousal violence while living together or after separation was significantly lower in 2009 (17%) in comparison to both 2004 (19%) and 1999 (25%). The same findings are seen when looking at the differences between the percentages of those who experienced ex-spousal violence in 1999, 2004 and 2009 among both men and women (see Figure 1 below).

Figure 1. Percentage of victims of self-reported ex-spousal violence within the past 5 years, 1999, 2004 and 2009, by gender of victimTable note

Figure 1. A vertical bar graph representing the percentage of victims of self-reported ex-spousal violence within the last 5 years for the years 1999, 2004 and 2009 by gender of victim

Description

A vertical bar chart illustrating the percentage of men and women who indicated that they experienced violence by an ex-spouse in the previous five years in 1999, 2004 and 2009. The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases in increments of five from 0 to 30. The X axis is divided into three years. The X axis lists the following years from left to right: 1999, 2004 and 2009. In 1999, 28% Table note * of women and 22% Table note * of men experienced ex-spousal violence within the last 5 years; in 2004, 21% Table note * of women and 16% Table note * of men experienced ex-spousal violence within the past 5 years; and in 2009, 20% of women and 14% of men experienced ex-spousal violence within the past five years. The graph also shows that there is a significant difference in the percentage of women who experienced ex-spousal violence in the last five years in 2009 (the reference category) compared to the percentage of women who experienced ex-spousal violence in the last five years in 1999 and 2004. There is also a significant difference in the percentage of men who experienced ex-spousal violence in the last five years in 2009 (the reference category) compared to the percentage of men who experienced ex-spousal violence in the last five years in 1999 and 2004. Source: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS), General Social Survey Public Use Microdata 1999, 2004, 2009, Custom tabulation prepared by Department of Justice Canada.

Source: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS), General Social Survey Public Use Microdata 1999, 2004, 2009, Custom tabulation prepared by Department of Justice Canada.

Table note †

Reference category

Return to table note referrer

Table note *

Significantly different from reference category (p<.001)

Return to table note * referrer

Among those who reported experiencing violence by an ex-spouse in 2009, approximately 412,000 (77%) reported that they experienced violence while they were living with their ex-spouse.

3.2 Violence after separation

In 2009, 68% of those who reported violence by an ex-spouse stated that the violence ended at separation, while 32% reported that they experienced violence after separation.Footnote 14 A significantly higher percentage of women (36%) than men (25%) experienced violence after separation (see Table 1, Appendix).

Those who experienced violence after separation were asked how long they were separated when the violence occurred. In 2009, just over half (51%) of the respondents indicated that the violence occurred more than 6 months after separation (see Table 2, Appendix).

In 2009, 14% of those who experienced violence by an ex-spouse indicated that they experienced violence both while living together and after they separated from their ex-spouse (i.e., that the violence continued to occur) (see Table 1, Appendix). These respondents were asked if they thought the violence became more serious after the separation occurred. Over one-third of these respondents (35%) reported that the violence increased in frequency and intensity following the separation.

3.2.1 Severity and frequency of post-separation violence

As seen in Table 3 (Appendix), a higher percentage of women who experienced violence after separation reported experiencing each of the four typesFootnote 15 of violence described in the table in comparison to female victims of current spousal violence. For example, 51% of women who experienced violence after separation and 13%E of those who experienced violence by a current partner indicated that they had been sexually assaulted, beaten, choked or threatened with a weapon. Among men, those who experienced violence after separation more frequently described being threatened to be hit and to have something thrown at them (88% compared to 67%), as well as being pushed, grabbed, shoved or slapped (63%) than those who experienced violence by a current spouse (60%).

Women who experienced violence after separation reported experiencing more severe types of violence in comparison to males who experienced violence after separation. As seen in Table 3, in 2009, over half of women (51%)Footnote 16 who experienced violence after separation reported being sexually assaulted, beaten, choked or threatened with a weapon. Footnote 17

Among those who experienced violence after separation, 67% of women and men indicated that they experienced violence two or more times (see Table 4, Appendix). More than half of women (54%) who experienced violence after separation indicated that they were physically injured as a result of the violence, as did 27%E of men (see Table 5, Appendix). In addition, more than one in ten women (13%E) who experienced violence after separation received medical attention for their injuries and 48% of women who experienced violence after separation reported fearing for their life (see Table 5, Appendix).

3.2.3 Emotional and financial abuse

Almost all respondents (95%) who experienced violence after separation reported emotional or financial abuse on the part of their ex-spouse either while living together or after separation.Footnote 18 Among those who experienced emotional and financial abuse by their ex-spouse and who experienced violence after separation, 90% reported that their ex-spouse used "put downs", 70% said that their ex-spouse was jealous (70%), 63% said that their ex-spouse damaged or destroyed their possessions or property and 37% said that their ex-spouse prevented them from having access or knowing about the family income (see Table 6, Appendix).

3.3 Emotional consequences of ex-spousal violence

Those who experienced violence by an ex-spouse either while living together or after separation described a number of different emotional consequences. The most common emotional consequences included being upset, confused and/or frustrated (34%), angry (33%), being fearful (25%), experiencing depression/anxiety attacks (23%) and feeling hurt/disappointment (22%).

These same emotional consequences were common among those who experienced violence after separation and in many cases, were more prevalent than among those who indicated that violence ended at separation. Among those who experienced violence after separation, 43% described being upset, confused and/or frustrated in comparison to 30% whose violence ended at separation, 39% described feeling angry in comparison to 30% of those whose violence ended at separation and one-third (33%) said they were fearful in comparison to 21% of those whose violence ended at separation.

Women who experienced violence after separation were significantly more likely to report experiencing more severe emotional consequences as a result of the violence in comparison to men, including being fearful (43%) and being afraid for their children (19%E).Footnote 19. Women were also significantly more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety attacks (22%E) and to report sleeping problems in comparison to men (21%E of women).Footnote 20

3.4 Police intervention

In general, many of those who experienced spousal violence (either by an ex-spouse or current spouse) in the five years preceding the survey indicated that the police had not become aware of the violence. As can be seen in Table 7, however, a higher percentage of those who experienced violence by an ex-spouse either while living together or after separation reported that the police had become aware of the violence (36%) in comparison to those who experienced violence by a current spouse (10%). Those who experienced violence after separation were most likely to indicate that the police had become aware of the violence (48%) than all other groups.

A significantly higher percentage of women who experienced violence after separation indicated that the police became aware of the violence in comparison to those who stated that the violence ended at separation (47% vs. 38%). Similarly, a significantly higher proportion of men who reported violence after separation reported that the police became aware of the violence in comparison to those who indicated that the violence ended at separation (50%E vs. 20%E).

Among those who experienced violence either while living together or after separation, a significantly higher proportion of women indicated that the police became aware of the violence in comparison to men (41% vs. 27%). While a higher percentage of female victims of violence that ended at separation reported that the police became aware of the violence in comparison to males (38% vs. 20%E), a lower percentage of reporting is found among female victims of violence that occurred after separation in comparison to males (47% vs. 50%E).

3.4.1 Victim satisfaction with police intervention

The GSS on Victimization asks all respondents how satisfied they are with various components of the criminal justice system, including the police. In 2009, many (60%) of those who had experienced ex-spousal violence either while living together or after separation and who indicated that the police became aware of the violence were satisfied or very satisfied with the police response they received (see Table 7, Appendix). Almost two-thirds (65%) of women indicated that they were satisfied with the police response and 47%E of men said they were satisfied; this difference was statistically significant.

Those who had contact with the police were asked what else the police could have done to help. While 57% indicated that no additional police action was necessary, 18%E stated that the police could have been more supportive/sympathetic.

3.4.2 Changes in violence after reporting to police

Respondents were also asked how their ex-spouse's violent behaviour was affected after the police were involved. In 2009, almost half (48%) of those who experienced violence by an ex-spouse either while living together or after separation indicated that the violence stopped or decreased after the police were involved, while 29%E indicated that it stayed the same. Half (50%) of the women who reported to the police indicated that the violence decreased or stopped after the police were involved and 27%E stated that it stayed the same. Among men, 42%E stated that the violence decreased or stopped after police involvement.Footnote 21

Among those who experienced violence by an ex-spouse after separation, over one-third stated that the violence decreased or stopped (37%E) or stayed the same (36%E)after it was reported to the police. Among women, 43%E stated that the violence decreased or stopped after it was reported to police.Footnote 22

3.4.3 Reasons for reporting and not reporting to police

Those who reported the incident to police were asked why they chose to report the violence. Among those who experienced violence by an ex-spouse either while living together or after separation, the most common reason for reporting to police was to stop the violence or receive protection (65%), followed by: the respondent felt it was his/her duty to report (32%), to arrest and punish his/her ex-spouse (20%E) and because another person recommended it (20%E).

The most common reasons provided by those who experienced violence by an ex-spouse either while living together or after separation for not reporting to police were because the respondent felt it was a personal matter (77%), it was dealt with in another way (77%), they felt it was not important enough (57%), and because they did not want to get the police involved (54%) (see Figure 2 below).

Figure 2. Reasons for not reporting violence to police

Figure 2. A vertical bar chart highlighting the percentage of women and men who provided specific reasons for why they did not report ex-spousal violence to the police.

Description

A vertical bar chart illustrating the percentage of men and women who provided various reasons for why they did not report ex-spousal violence to the police. The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases in increments of 10 from 0 to 100. The X axis lists the following reasons for not reporting ex-spousal violence to the police from left to right: Dealt with it another way; Personal matter; Did not want to get involved with police; Thought it was not important enough; Did not want anyone to find out; Did not want ex-partner arrested; and Thought police could not do anything about it. 73% of women and 84% of men stated that they Dealt with it another way; 67% of women and 91% of men said it was a personal matter; 50% of women and 61% of men said that they Did not want to get involved with the police; 50% of women and 66% of men said that they Thought it was not important enough; 47% of women and 28% of men said that they did not want anyone to find out; 41% of women and 48% of men said that they Did not want their ex-partner arrested; and 31% of women and 32% of men said that they Thought the police could not do anything about it. The percentage points of 28% of men who said that they Did not want anyone to find out and the 32% of men who said that they Thought the police could not do anything about it are accompanied by an "E", which means that the estimates should be used with caution. Source: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS), General Social Survey Public Use Microdata 1999, 2004, 2009, Custom tabulation prepared by Department of Justice Canada.

Source: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS), General Social Survey Public Use Microdata 2009, Custom tabulation prepared by Department of Justice Canada.

3.5 Child witnesses of violence

In 2009, almost two-thirds (64%) of those with children who experienced violence by an ex-spouse either while living together or after separation indicated that a child had seen or heard the violence (see Table 8, Appendix).Footnote 23 Among the respondents whose children saw or heard the violence, just under half (48%) indicated that they feared for their life; 65% of women indicated that they feared for their life in cases in which a child saw or heard the violence.Footnote 24

An even higher percentage of individuals with children who experienced violence after separation indicated that a child had seen or heard the violence (72%). More than half (56%) of those with children who had experienced violence after separation and who indicated that a child had seen or heard the violence, stated that they had feared for their life. Again, a high percentage of women (69%) indicated that they feared for their life in cases in which children saw or heard the violence.Footnote 25

In addition, 19%E of women with children who experienced violence by an ex-spouse either while living together or after separation reported that they experienced violence while pregnant.

3.6 Residence of the child(ren) and post-separation/divorce contact with child(ren)

Some one million respondents in the 2004 and 2009 GSS had a child under 18 years of age with a previous spouse (see Tables 9 and 10, Appendix). Among these individuals with a child, over one-quarter (27%) in both the 2004 and 2009 GSS reported experiencing violence by their ex-spouse in the previous five years either while living together or after separation. The likelihood of experiencing violence by an ex-spouse was significantly higher among those with children with an ex-spouse compared to those without children in both 2004 (14%) and 2009 (13%) (see Tables 9 and 10, Appendix). In both 2004 and 2009, a significantly higher proportion of women than men who had a child with a previous spouse reported experiencing violence (29% of women and 24% of men in 2004 and 31% of women and 22% of men in 2009).

The type of violence experienced by those with and without children was also explored. There were some differences between the two groups in regard to the types of violence experienced. A significantly higher percentage (87%) of those with children stated that their ex-spouse threatened to hit them or threw something at them in comparison to those without children (78%). Those with children were also significantly more likely to report being beaten, choked, threatened with a gun or knife or experiencing unwanted sexual activity (44% vs. 35%) (see Table 11, Appendix).

The respondents were also asked to indicate the child or children's principal residence. Among those who stated that the child's principal residence was with the respondent, 29% reported that they experienced violence by an ex-spouse (see Table 12, Appendix). In 25% of cases where a child's principal residence was that of the ex-spouse, the respondent reported experiencing violence by their ex-spouse, while ex-spousal violence was reported in 20% of cases in which the child spent the same amount of time at both residences.

This issue can also be examined by those who experienced ex-spousal violence compared to those who did not experience ex-spousal violence. As shown in Table 13, among those who indicated that they experienced violence by an ex-spouse, 64% indicated that the child's or children's principal residence was their home, in comparison to 58% of those who did not experience violence. Just over one-quarter (26%) of those who experienced ex-spousal violence and 30% who did not experience ex-spousal violence indicated that the children's principal residence was that of their ex-spouse. One-tenth (10%E) of those who experienced spousal violence indicated that their child spent the same amount of time at both residences compared to 15% who did not experience ex-spousal violence. All of these differences are significant.

Those whose children's principal residence was with the respondent or with a third party were asked how often their ex-spouse saw their children.Footnote 26 Among those who experienced ex-spousal violence, 48% indicated that their children saw the ex-spouse at least once every week to at least once every two weeks in comparison to 62% of those who did not experience ex-spousal violence. Almost one-fifth (19%E) of those who experienced ex-spousal violence indicated that their children did not have any contact with their ex-spouse, in comparison to 8%E of those who did not experience ex-spousal violence (see Table 14, Appendix). All of these differences are significant.

3.7 Criminal Harassment

Data from the Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR2) Survey indicate that in 2011, women accounted for 75% of criminal harassment victims. Ex-spousesFootnote 27 were the offenders in 20% of cases where the victim was female and in 8% of cases where the victim was male. When ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends are included, these percentages increase to 44% of cases with a female victim and 20% with a male victim.

3.8 Homicide[28]

Between 2000 and 2011,Footnote 29 ex-spousesFootnote 30 were responsible for 4%Footnote 31 of homicides perpetrated against men and women. Ex-spouses were responsible for approximately 11% of homicides perpetrated against female victims and for 1% of homicides perpetrated against male victims during this time period (see Table 15, Appendix). Indeed, females accounted for 90% of homicide victims perpetrated by ex-spouses in this time period.

3.8.1 Relationship type and victim age

There is a clear difference in regard to risk of spousal homicide depending upon the relationship between the victim and the accused (see Table 16, Appendix). Between 2007 and 2011, women were at a heightened risk of homicide by a spouse from whom they were separated in comparison to those with whom they were in a common-law or married relationship. An average of 1.80 women per 100,000 were killed by a spouse from whom they were legally separated, in comparison to an average of 1.29 per 100,000 who were killed by a common-law partner and 0.31 per 100,000 who were killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married. Footnote 32 In comparison, men were at a greater risk of being killed by a current common-law partner. An average of 0.60 men per 100,000 were killed by a common-law partner, while 0.06 per 100,000 were killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married and no men were killed by a spouse from whom they were legally separated or divorced. For additional information on homicide rates as a function of relationship type, please see the Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2011 report.

It is also possible to examine the risk of homicide as a function of both the age and the relationship type between the victim and the accused.Footnote 33 The risk of being a victim of spousal homicide varies depending on age and type of relationship between the victim and accused. As can be seen in Figure 3 below, between 2007 and 2011, women were at the greatest risk of homicide by a spouse from whom they were legally separated when they were 15 to 24 years old. This risk declined with age. The risk of being killed by a spouse with whom the woman was married remained stable over time. The risk of being killed by a common-law partner appeared to fluctuate by age group.

Figure 3. Average homicide rates for women by accused-victim relationship and age group of victim, 2007-2011

Figure 3. A horizontal bar chart highlighting the average homicide rates for women by accused-victim relationship and age group of victim for the years 2007 to 2011.

Description

A horizontal bar chart showing the average homicide rates for women by accused-victim relationship and age group of victim for the years 2007 to 2011. The Y axis lists the following age groups of female victims from top to bottom: 15 to 24, 25 to 34, 35 to 44, 45 to 54, 55 to 64 and 65 and older. The X axis is measured in rate per 100,000 and increases in increments of 1 from 0.0 to 6.0, from left to right. The accused-victim relationship categories are separated, common-law and married. Among women aged 15 to 24 years old, between 2007 and 2011, an average of 5.28 women were killed by a spouse from whom they were legally separated, an average of 1.44 women were killed by a common-law partner and an average of 0.2 were killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married. Among women aged 25 to 34, between 2007 and 2011, an average of 3.66 women were killed by a spouse from whom they were legally separated, an average of 1.1 women were killed by a common-law partner and an average of 0.35 women were killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married. Among women 35 to 44 years old, an average of 2.32 women were killed by a spouse from whom they were legally separated, an average of 1.57 women were killed by a common-law partner and an average of 0.23 women were killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married. Among women aged 45 to 54, an average of 1.36 women were killed by a spouse from whom they were legally separated, an average of 1.3 women were killed by a common-law partner and an average of 0.34 women were killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married. Among women aged 55 to 64, an average or 0.68 women were killed by a partner from whom they were legally separated, an average of 0.76 women were killed by a common-law partner and an average of 0.27 women were killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married. Among women 65 years and older, an average of 0 women were killed by a spouse from whom they were legally separated, an average of 1.91 women were killed by a common-law partner and an average of 0.4 women were killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married. Note that the rate of females who were killed by a male partner from whom they were legally divorced was zero across all of the age groups, with the exception of one incident. Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

Rates are calculated per 100,000 population aged 15 and over, legally married, common-law, legally separated spouses and divorced, based on July 1st, 2012 estimates. Rates for separated common-law spouses cannot be calculated since population data is not available for this group. Rates for same-sex spouses cannot be calculated since the Homicide Survey does not collect information on the legal status of same-sex unions. In addition, rates cannot be calculated for separated common-law spouses because this population data is not available.Footnote 34

Note: The rate of females who were killed by a male partner from whom they were legally divorced was zero across all of the age groups, with the exception of one incident.

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

In this same time period (2007-2011), men were at the greatest risk of being killed by a common-law partner. As shown in Figure 4, the risk began when men were 25 to 34 years of age, increased at 35 to 44 years old and peaked when they were 45 to 54 years of age. Also, men were at equal risk of being killed by a common-law partner when they were 25 to 34 years old and when they were 55 to 64 years old. The risk of being killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married was the highest when men were 15-24 years of age.

Figure 4. Average homicide rates for women by accused-victim relationship and age group of victim, 2007-2011

Figure 4. A horizontal bar chart highlighting the average homicide rates for women by accused-victim relationship and age group of victim for the years 2007 to 2011.

Description

A horizontal bar chart showing the average homicide rates for men by accused-victim relationship and age group of victim for the years 2007 to 2011. The Y axis lists the following age groups of male victims from top to bottom: 15 to 24, 25 to 34, 35 to 44, 45 to 54, 55 to 64 and 65 and older. The X axis is measured in rate per 100,000 and increases in increments of 0.2 from 0.0 to 1.0, from left to right. The accused-victim relationship categories are common-law and married. Among men aged 15 to 24 years old, an average of 0 men were killed by a common-law partner and an average of 0.44 men were killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married. Among men aged 25 to 34, an average of 0.54 men were killed by a common-law partner and an average of 0.09 men were killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married. Among men 35 to 44 years old, an average of 0.68 men were killed by a common-law partner and an average of 0 men were killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married. Among men aged 45 to 54, an average of 0.92 men were killed by a common-law partner and an average of 0.12 women were killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married. Among men aged 55 to 64, an average or 0.53 men were killed by a common-law partner and an average of 0.03 men were killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married. Among men 65 years and older, an average of 0.32 men were killed by a common-law partner and an average of 0.3 men were killed by a spouse with whom they were legally married. Note that the number of men killed by a partner from whom they were legally separated or legally divorced was zero across all of the groups. Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

Rates are calculated per 100,000 population aged 15 and over, legally married, common-law, legally separated, and divorced respectively, based on July 1st 2012 estimates. Rates for separated common-law spouses cannot be calculated since population data is not available for this group. Rates for same-sex spouses cannot be calculated since the Homicide Survey does not collect information on the legal status of same-sex unions. In addition, rates cannot be calculated for separated common-law spouses because this population data is not available.Footnote 35

Note: The number of men killed by a partner from whom they were legally separated or legally divorced was zero across all of the groups.

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

3.8.2 Motive

Much of the information taken from the Homicide Survey is from the written descriptions of the investigating officers. Between 2000 and 2011, the most relevant motive was available in the cases of 626 homicide victims where the accused was a current spouse and in the cases of 197 homicide victims where the accused was an ex-spouse (see Table 17, Appendix). In cases of homicides perpetrated by current spouses, the most common motive noted for female and male victims, was that of an argument or quarrel (45%), while in cases where the homicide was perpetrated by an ex-spouse, the most common motive was jealousy (36%).

In regard to gender differences, in cases of homicides perpetrated by ex-spouses, the most common motive in cases with a female victim was that of jealousy (37%), followed by frustration, anger or despair (34%) and an argument or quarrel (20%). In cases in which there was a male victim, the most common motive was an argument or a quarrel (50%).

3.8.3 Number of victims

Between 2000 and 2011, the majority (92%) of homicides perpetrated by male current and ex-spousesFootnote 36 involved a single victim (see Table 18, Appendix). A slightly higher percentage (10%, n=18) of homicides perpetrated by male ex-spouses during this time frame involved multiple victims, in comparison to homicides perpetrated by current male spouses (7%, n=38). There were only three cases of homicide perpetrated by a female accused that involved multiple victims. In all three cases, the female accused was a current spouse.

3.8.4 Homicide-suicide

Between 2000 and 2011, there were 59 cases where a homicide perpetrated by a male ex-spouse accused was cleared by suicide. In all of these cases, the victim was female. During this same timeframe, there were no cases involving a female ex-spouse accused in which the case was cleared by suicide.

3.8.5 Location of homicides

Among cases where the location of homicide incidents was known, the highest proportion of homicides committed by an ex-spouse between 2000 and 2011 occurred in a residential location, including a single home, apartment building or hotel (85%). Other locations included: a road, open area or parking lot (9%) and a commercial or corporation location, such as a convenience store, gas station or bank (3%). Fewer incidents (2%) occurred in a location involving transit, such as a vehicle, taxi or public transit or in an "other" location, such as a community group home, correctional institution or other public institution (1%).

As seen in the figure below, among those who were killed by an ex-spouse in a residential location, the most common location for both male and female victims was their home (47% of men and 65% of women). Among male victims, the next most common residential location was that of the accused (37%), followed by a residence shared with the accusedFootnote 37 (16%). Among female victims, 16% were killed in the accused's residence and 16% were killed in their own residence.

Figure 5. Victims of homicide perpetrated by ex-spouses by occupancy of residence where incident occurred and gender of victim, 2000-2011

Figure 5. A vertical bar chart highlighting percentage of male and female victims of homicide perpetrated by ex-spouses by occupancy of the residence where the incident occurred for the years 2000 to 2011.

Description

A vertical bar chart showing the percentage of male and female victims of homicide perpetrated by ex-spouses by occupancy of the residence where the incident occurred for the years 2000 to 2011 for victims killed by an ex-spouse in a residential location. The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases in increments of 10 from 0 to 70. The X axis lists the following type of residence: "Shared residence (Victim(s) and accused(s))"; "Victim(s)' residence"; "Accused(s)' residence"; and "Neither victims or accused were occupants". Among those killed by an ex-spouse in a residential location between 2000 and 2011, 16% of male victims and 16% of female victims were killed in a residence shared with the accused(s); 47% of male victims and 65% of female victims were killed in their own residence (victim's residence); 37% of male victims and 16% of female victims were killed in the accused's' residence; and 0% of male victims and 4% of female victims were killed in a residence where neither the victim nor the accused were occupants. Note that this in this graph, ex-spouses include those separated from a legal or common-law union and those divorced from a legal union and includes both opposite and same-sex partners. Occupancy of residence includes single home, house, townhouse; other residential dwelling unit; apartment building; hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast. Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

3.8.6 Use of a Weapon

As can be seen in Table 19, a weapon was used in almost every homicide (n=202, 99%) committed by an ex-spouse between 2000 and 2011. For both male and female victims, the most common type of weapon used by previous spouses in the perpetration of a homicide between 2000 and 2011 was a knife or other piercing instrument (39% overall). The next most common type of weapon used in the homicide of both male and female victims was a firearm (32% overall).

3.8.7 History of Spousal Violence

As can be seen in Table 20, between 2010 and 2011, in many situations where there was a homicide where the accused was an ex-spouse, there had been a history of spousal violence. Among female victims, there had been a history of spousal violence in 78% (n = 7) of cases of homicides where the accused was a divorced spouse, 76% (n = 25) of cases of homicides where the accused was a separated common-law partner and in 70% (n = 87) of cases where the accused was a legally separated spouse. It is not clear, however, in which direction the spousal violence occurred (i.e., if the accused was violent toward the victim or if they victim was the perpetrator). Among male victims, there had been a history of spousal violence in 83% (n = 5) of cases where the accused was a separated common-law partner, and 78% (n = 7) of cases where the accused was a legally separated spouse.

In addition, between 2000 and 2011, the accused had a previous conviction in 49% of cases where a homicide was committed by a male accused who was an ex-spouseFootnote 40 (see Table 21, Appendix). In 67% of these cases, the accused had been convicted of a violent offence. Footnote 41

Also, between 2000 and 2011, there were 25 known cases where a male ex-spouseFootnote 42 was accused of criminal harassment toward the victim prior to the homicide. This accounts for 15% of the cases of homicide victims killed by an ex-spouse between 2000 and 2011 where it was known whether there was an associated or related offence prior to the homicide (n=170).

Date modified: