April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. This annual event began in the United States as a way to raise visibility about sexual assault and share ways to prevent it through education about healthy sexuality, consent, and bystander intervention. As well as recognizing this month, EVA BC also recognizes the Prevention of Violence Against Women Week, April 16 to 22, a week set aside by the Province of BC to acknowledge the ongoing violence against women and to raise awareness about and commit to prevent and reduce violence against women in our province.
Everyone deserves to live free from the fear of sexual assault and to live in communities that support their safety.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, please see ways you can find help.
Some data on sexual assault in Canada and BC
Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual activity. We acknowledge that the following data points cannot fully represent the unique experiences and realities of the individuals who are impacted by this type of violence.
- In 2021, there were 34,242 police-reported sexual assaults in Canada, and 6,065 in BC, both an increase from 2020 (14.1% increase in BC, 18% in Canada).
- The rate of sexual assault cases in Canada was more than five times higher for women than men.
- Only 6% of sexual assault incidents in Canada were brought to the attention of police.
- Some populations are at a higher risk of experiencing sexual violence:
- 47% of sexual offences are committed against young women aged 15 to 24;
- The rate of sexual assault is approximately three times higher against Indigenous women than non-Indigenous women;
- People who identify as homosexual or bisexual have a rate of experiencing sexual assault six times higher than those who identify as heterosexual and transgender people report higher rates of both physical and sexual assault compared to cisgender people;
- The rate of sexual assault among those with a disability are approximately two times higher than those with no disability.
As reported by: Province of British Columbia’s Public Safety and Emergency Services website, the government of BC’s 2021 Crime Statistics Report and the Canadian Women’s Foundation facts page.
If you are experiencing or have experienced gender-based violence it is never your fault. There are support services across BC that can help. Find programs supported by EVA BC across the province here.
VictimLinkBC also provides confidential support and information in over 150+ languages, and can help you with safety planning and guide you to find services and support in your community. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week across BC and Yukon by phone or text at 1-800-563-0808 or email VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca.