Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights' report entitled “The Shadow Pandemic: Stopping Coercive and Controlling Behaviour in Intimate Relationships”. I am grateful for all the individuals and organizations who provided evidence at the committee during its study of this very important issue. I would like to commend the committee for its comprehensive report. I also want to thank my colleague and friend from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke for all his work on this issue.
Addressing all forms of gender-based violence continues to be a priority of this government and this Prime Minister. This is a timely conversation, given International Women's Day was just this week. Coercive control in intimate relationships, also known as coercive and controlling behaviour, is an insidious form of intimate partner violence that often precedes physical violence. An abuser engages in a pattern of controlling behaviour over a period of time, eliminating the victim's sense of freedom. Abusers use a broad range of controlling conduct, including isolating the victim from their friends and family, monitoring and controlling the victim's activities and finances or threatening, belittling, humiliating or assaulting the victim. Coercive control focuses on the accumulative impact of the abuser's conduct on the victim.
While we know that anyone can be a victim of intimate partner violence, victims are most often women, and this violence is commonly perpetrated by men. In 2021, eight in 10 victims of such violence were women and girls, and the rate of victimization was nearly four times higher among women and girls than men and boys. We must also consider that many experiences of victimization are not reported to the police. The under-reporting of certain types of violence, including intimate partner violence, is well established.
Indigenous people are over twice as likely to experience spousal violence as non-indigenous. About six in 10 indigenous women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime, and four in 10 experienced physical abuse by an intimate partner in their lifetime. More specifically, 43% of first nations women, 48% of Métis women and 35% of Inuit women have experienced physical and sexual assault by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.
The World Health Organization has recognized that intimate partner violence is a serious public health concern and a violation of women's rights that has profound, immediate and long-term impacts on survivors and victims and requires a multi-sectoral approach. We know that gender-based violence is unacceptable and has no place in Canada. We also know that it is a significant barrier to achieving gender equality.
I want to note that the Minister of Justice raised the committee's recommendations at the fall 2022 federal-provincial-territorial meeting of ministers responsible for justice and public safety and that his officials have engaged their provincial and territorial counterparts on the issue of enacting a new offence prohibiting coercive control consistent with one of the committee's recommendations. I, for one, will be interested to learn about what this collaboration with the provinces and territories will result in. Indeed, they will have valuable experience to contribute to this issue, given their responsibility for the administration of justice, including the investigation and prosecution of criminal offences.
Once again, I want to thank my colleague for this discussion that is taking place today. I look forward to continuing the work with him and all parliamentarians on this very important issue.