The rates of violent crimes against young women and girls are higher in northern Saskatchewan than anywhere else in Canada, according to Statistics Canada.
Numbers released this week show violence rates against young females — 24 years old and below — in 2017 were highest in northern Saskatchewan (13,886 victims per 100,000 people) and northern Manitoba (9,025 victims per 100,000).
Those rates were between five and six times higher than rates in southern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba, and “consistently higher” than in the three territories for female and male victims in all age groups.
“Violence against young women and girls is an ongoing human rights issue and a significant barrier to gender equality,” StatsCan said in its report.
“In addition to gender, where people live can also influence the risk of violent victimization. Crime rates are higher in northern Canada and its geographic remoteness can be a barrier to accessing victim services and escaping violence. These factors are especially critical for young women and girls at risk of violence in the North.”
According to StatsCan, 85 per cent of the country’s land mass is considered the north, but approximately six per cent of Canada’s population lived in the provincial north, and less than one per cent lived in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. People living in the north made up less than seven per cent of Canada’s female population 24 years old and under, but represented 17 per cent of young female victims of police-reported violent crime.
“It is important to consider how the vast remoteness of the North is distinctly different from the South, and how such varying demographic landscapes contribute to populations with different social characteristics,” StatsCan said in its report.
The national average of violent crimes against young females in Northern Canada was 3,643 victims per 100,000 — almost three times higher than the rates in southern parts of provinces and territories (1,235 per 100,000), and nearly twice as high as rates against young men and boys in the north (2,090 per 100,000). A nationwide total of 12,036 police-reported violent incidents against young females was recorded in 2017.
According to StatsCan, 44 per cent of violent crime against young females was committed by intimate partners or spouses, while 20 per cent were by other family members. Rates of police-reported violent crime peak for females at the age 15, according to the report, but while those rates decline for females in the south, they remain high in the north for women until their 30s.
Girls younger than 12 in the North were victimized by a family member in 55 per cent of reported crimes, while 61 per cent of women between the ages of 18 and 24 were victimized by an intimate partner. Approximately 63 per cent of violent crimes in the north were physical assault, while approximately 24 per cent were sexual offences. According to StatsCan, 77 per cent of young female victims of violence in the North were victimized by a male.
Between 2009 and 2017, 74 young females were homicide victims — 56 of whom were First Nations, Metis or Inuit. On average, homicide rates from 2009 to 2017 for young females were more than three times higher in the North (2.36 victims per 100,000 population) than in the South (0.70 victims).
Overall, according to StatsCan, “a disproportionate amount of violent crime occurred in northern Canada in 2017, with young women and girls most at-risk for violence.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019