Very good. Thank you very much.
Thank you for the opportunity to present our findings, which I hope will give you insight into the demand for shelter space among women seeking help because of intimate partner violence. I will be presenting data collected through police reports as well as a shelter survey.
Slide 2 shows our key findings. In the past three years, the rate of intimate partner violence against females has increased slightly, by 4%. The rates are highest in the territories, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The last time we collected shelter data, we found that one in four women had sought shelter from the facility before and that more than half of the women who sought shelter because of abuse were admitted with their children. I would also like to point out that we have new shelter data coming out in the spring, data I believe will be essential to the committee's study.
Slide 3 shows data from the survey on shelters. The last time these data were collected was in 2014. At that time, more than 600 shelters across Canada offered services to women fleeing domestic violence and their children. In all, the shelters provided over 12,000 beds. The provinces with the most shelters were Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. The day on which the survey was administered, more than half the women who had sought shelter were under the age of 35, and more than seven out of 10 women were looking for a shelter in a big city. In 2014, the average number of beds per facility was 19.
Moving on to slide 4, I should note that it provides an overview of shelter capacity in relation to the number of police-reported incidents of intimate partner violence. We know that, during the same year, about 70,000 women were victims of intimate partner violence, as reported to police. Once again, the highest rates were observed in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, the three largest provinces in the country.
Another data point worth noting is the rate of intimate partner violence. From that standpoint, we look at the number of victims and population differences. That way, we are able to see which regions present the highest risk. In 2014, the regions with the highest rates of intimate partner violence, as with crime overall, were the three territories, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta.
Switching to slide 5, from this slide we note that the majority of women in shelters cited abuse as their primary reason for seeking shelter in 2014, and 78% of them identified their abuser as an intimate partner.
If you turn to the next slide, slide 6, this graph shows the various forms of abuse women have been reporting to the shelter. Note here that women can report more than one form of abuse. We can see the various forms of abuse experienced by these women on this chart. For example, two-thirds reported emotional abuse and half reported physical abuse. Also, 21% of women reported that sexual abuse was a factor for seeking shelter, and more than a quarter of women wanted to protect their children from witnessing the abuse.
On the next slide we can highlight some information that looks at capacity issues. In 2014, on a snapshot day, more than 300 women and 200 of their children were turned away from a shelter. More than half of these individuals were turned away because the shelter was at capacity. Other reasons for being turned away included alcohol and drug issues, 8%; mental health issues, 6%; and women being on a non-admit or caution list, 4%.
Another critical data point to consider is that one in four of the residents served on the snapshot day had stayed at the shelter before—that is, they were return clients of the shelter. Among these, 37% had stayed at the same shelter one time in the previous 12 months, and 17% had stayed there two to three times, while 30% had stayed at the shelter but had their stay more than a year ago.
Additionally, almost half of the female residents had not reported the abuse to the police.
Now we turn to the type of services these shelters are offering. According to the last iteration of the transition home survey covering the year 2014, there was a range of services that were available to women residents, including counselling, transportation services and housing referrals. Many shelters were also able to meet the diverse needs of indigenous women and children.
Up to now, I've presented information that was collected in 2014, the last time we captured information on shelters. Now I'd like to provide you with trend analysis related to intimate partner violence against females reported to the police and coming from the uniform crime report.
Overall in Canada, between 2009 and 2014 there was a year-over-year decline in rates of intimate partner violence against women. However, since 2014 these rates have increased by 4%, almost all driven by an increase in females being victims.
We now look at regional differences.
The largest increases over the three-year period were noted in Northwest Territories, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island. However, decreases were noted in Yukon, B.C. and Alberta. Remember these are percentage changes. Overall, levels of intimate partner violence against females remain much higher in the territories and higher in Manitoba and Saskatchewan compared to British Columbia and the east.
To finish this presentation, I would like to draw your attention to two new surveys that are still in collection right now and being processed, and will be informative to your critical research here.
The first survey is the survey of residential facilities for victims of abuse, which is replacing the transition home survey we conducted the last time in 2014. It will be collecting important new information listed on slide number 11 here. Specifically, the survey will provide us with information on the characteristics of shelter residents, according to age and gender, and further by indigenous identity, visible minority identity, residency status and whether they have disabilities, and, if so, which type. The first results will be available next spring, in 2019.
Also coming toward the end of next summer in 2019, Statistics Canada will be releasing data from the new survey of safety in public and private spaces. We will have additional information that will be of value to this committee—in particular, intimate partner violence victims will be asked to report on whether they have had to leave their home because of violence and, if so, where they went. Combined with numerous individual characteristics and other victimization results, these data will present a very interesting picture of the situation.
This ends our presentation today, so we're ready for questions. Thank you.