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Statistics: Teenage Dating Violence in Canada

Far From The Heart has conducted extensive research during the development of its dating violence prevention programs. The following facts and figures establish youth as a high-risk population for becoming victims of sexual assault and dating abuse. The following statistics demonstrate the importance of violence prevention programs in our schools and communities:

  • 51% of Canadian women experience at least one incident of physical or sexual violence (Statistics Canada, 1993)

  • 86% of all sexual offences reported to the police in 2004 involved girls under the age of 18. (Ontario Women’s Directorate, up from 63% in 1996)

  • 31% percent of sexual assaults occur in dating and acquaintance relationships. (Ontario Women’s Directorate, 1995)

  • Quantifying sexual assault continues to be a challenge, since the large majority (91%) of these crimes are not reported to police. (Sexual Assault in Canada 2004, Brennan & Taylor-Butts, 2008)

  • Police-reported data, which captures information on Canadian victims of every age, illustrate that in 2007, over half (58%) of sexual assault victims were under the age of 18, with children under 12 accounting for 25%. (Brennan & Taylor-Butts, 2008)

  • Rates of dating violence were higher for female than male victims at a margin of nearly 10 to 1 for those 15 to 19 years of age. (Police-reported dating violence in Canada, 2008, Mahoney, 2010)

  • The most common offences perpetrated against adolescent victims of dating violence were sexual assault and related offences such as sexual interference. (Mahoney, 2010)

  • For the majority of incidents (88%) involving adolescent victims of dating violence the suspect was older than the victim. (Mahoney, 2010)

  • Research suggests that young victims and perpetrators of dating violence may be at increased risk of continuing this cycle in their adult intimate and family relationships. (Mahoney, 2010)

  • Among children with disabilities, research has found that 39-68% of girls and 16-30% of boys are subjected to sexual abuse before the age of 18 (Bunch & Crawford, 2000 cited by Sexual Assault & Violence Intervention Services of Halton)

  • 1 in 5 male students surveyed said that forced intercourse was alright “if he spends money on her”, “if he is stoned or drunk”, or “if they had been dating for a long time.” (Johnson 1996, 120)

  • The results of a 2011 study showed that 61% of male participants did not consider forcing sex on an acquaintance as rape (Weiler-Polak, 2011)

  • Sixty percent of Canadian college-aged males report that they would commit sexual assault if they were certain that they would not be caught. (OWD 1995, 2)

  • 71% of youth in Canada report being in a dating relationship by the age of 15. Among those that have engaged in a dating relationship, 55% had their first dating relationship by the age of 12. (Statistics Canada, Police-reported dating violence in Canada, 2008

  • For the most recent Canadian Statistics regarding sexual assault and spousal violence please visit: &

More statistics are also available in our research document Far From the Heart: Report on the Effectiveness of Forum Theatre as an Educational Tool regarding Youth Dating Violence and Sexual Assault in Saskatchewan Schools, 2012Download pdf File


Contact us to find out more about this educational project on preventing teenage dating violence, abuse and date rape and to share your thoughts and feedback.