Loading articles...

Canada's top doctor shines light on family violence, calls statistics 'staggering'

The Window Project, a store display that highlighted the issue of domestic violence. YouTube screengrab.

Canada’s top doctor has released a report on family violence across the country — and he says the statistics are staggering.

Chief medical health officer Dr. Gregory Taylor says family violence is not just about physical abuse, but includes sexual, emotional and financial abuse, as well as neglect.

Taylor says almost 58,000 girls and women were victims of family violence in 2014, and every four days a woman was killed by a family member.

Population surveys show that a third of Canadians, or nine million people, have reported experiencing abuse before they were 15 years old.

In 2014, indigenous Canadians were murdered at a rate six times higher than non-indigenous Canadians, with aboriginal women three times more likely to report spousal abuse than non-aboriginal women.

The report also found that every day, eight seniors on average were victims of family violence.

“This is a serious public health issue in Canada — one that can have long-lasting and widespread effects on the health of individuals, families and communities,” says Taylor.

“The health impacts of family violence extend far beyond physical injuries and include poor mental health, psychological and emotional distress, suicide, and increased risk of chronic diseases and conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.”