Only five per cent of sexual assaults are reported to police

Rate of victimization crimes decreased for all crimes except sexual assault.

Since the start of the year, the Burns Lake RCMP has received 11 reports of sexual assault. However, according to a new survey conducted by Statics Canada, the number of sexual assaults could be much higher.

According to the survey, the more serious the incident or the greater the resulting loss, the more likely were the police to be notified.

Incidents resulting in injury, those involving a weapon or those resulting in a financial loss of $1000 or more were more likely to be reported to the police. Sexual assault, however, was an exception. Although sexual assault was the most serious crime measured by the survey, only five per cent of sexual assaults were reported in 2014.

Contrary to previous results, women reported a higher violent victimization rate in 2014 than men – 85 incidents per 1000 women compared with 67 incidents per 1000 men. Statistics Canada attributes this difference to the relative stability in the rate of sexual assaults, an offence mostly involving female victims, along with a decrease in the rates of other violent crimes, which mostly involved male victims.

The report also found that Aboriginal women are at higher risk of violent victimization. Aboriginal women had a rate of 115 sexual assaults per 1000 women, compared with 35 per 1000 non-Aboriginal women.

The rate of self-reported victimization decreased for all crimes in 2014, except sexual assault. The largest declines compared with 2004 were for theft of motor vehicles (-59 per cent), vandalism (-49 per cent) and robbery (-39 per cent).

Mental health and a history of victimization during childhood are associated with the risk of violent victimization, according to Statistics Canada. Overall, the rate for those who reported having a mental health-related disability or learning disability, or who self-assessed their mental health as being poor or fair was more than four times higher than for those who assessed their mental health as being excellent or very good.

The target population of the survey comprised people 15 years of age and older in all provinces. In 2014, 33,127 respondents took part in the survey.