Sexual Assault in Nova Scotia and Halifax Regional Municipality
Research and current data about sexual assault is limited. Provincial and local data that is available may not be consistent with other research or portray trends accurately. For example, women with disabilities or Aboriginal women, are at a higher risk of experiencing a sexual assault although local data may not show this.
Sexual Assault in Nova Scotia
Police-reported Sexual Assault
- Victims/survivors of sexual assault are less likely to report to police than other crimes so the number of police reports under-represents the frequency of assaults. The 2009 General Social Survey found that 88 per cent of sexual assaults in Canada were not reported to police.
- In 2010, 682 assaults were reported to police in Nova Scotia. About 84 per cent of the victims/survivors were women.
- In 2007, the rate of reported sexual assaults in Nova Scotia was 75 per 100,000 people compared to the national rate of 65 per 100,000 people.
- The rate of reported sexual assault victimization for women (118 per 100,000 women) is almost five times higher than men (24 per 100,000 men).
- From 2006 to 2010, 3,541 sexual assault victims/survivors reported to police in Nova Scotia. About 85 per cent of the victims/survivors were women and 15 per cent were men.
- In 2007, sexual assaults were 7.7 per cent of all police-reported violent offences in the Nova Scotia.
- From 2006 to 2010, the perpetrators of reported sexual assaults of women were:
- Casual acquaintances (26 per cent)
- A non-spousal family member (24 per cent)
- Strangers (13 per cent)
- Current or former spouses/boyfriends or girlfriends (10 per cent)
- Friends (7 per cent)
- Unknown relationship (17 per cent)
Sexual Assault and the Criminal Justice System
- In 2007, only 30 per cent of reported sexual assaults had charges laid. This percentage was the lowest of all the provinces and territories. The national average was 42 per cent.
- From 1993 to 2007, the proportion of sexual assaults that had a charge laid decreased from 56 per cent to 30 per cent. Charges for other reported violent offences maintained a stable proportion at an average of 43 per cent.
- The acquittal rate for sexual assault tends to be significantly higher than acquittal rates for other violent offences. In 2006 to 2007, the acquittal rate for sexual assaults in Nova Scotia was 13 per cent. The rate was only 6 per cent for other violent offences.
Sexual Assault in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)
- The rate of police-reported sexual assault in HRM in 2007 was 87 per 100,000 people compared to the provincial rate of 75 per 100,000 people
- In 2011, there were 393 sexual offences reported in HRM.
- Central Halifax had the most reported offences (135) compared with other parts of HRM.
- There is an average of one sexual assault reported every day.
Criminal Justice System
- In 2007, only 22 per cent of sexual assaults reported in Halifax Regional Municipality had a charge laid. In comparison, 49 per cent of other violent offences reported had charges laid during that same period.
Avalon Centre Service Use in 2010/11
- Ninety-two people accessed Avalon’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner’s (SANE) program from 2010 to 2011
- Most of the people who accessed the SANE program were between the ages of 17 and 25. This is consistent with the data from the previous year.
- A significant number of victims/survivors who accessed SANE in the 2010/11 year have experienced:
- Mental health concerns
- Repeated victimization
- An assault with multiple perpetrators
- Drug or alcohol facilitated sexual assault.
- Avalon’s legal support advocate attended 152 of 296 court sessions involving sexual offences. There was a pattern of violent sexual crimes against women and children.
- Avalon recorded 236 counselling requests in 2010 and 2011—the highest number of requests since the counselling program began in 1996.