Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut June 06, 2014 - 11:43 am

Nunavut, NWT suffer highest rates of sex offences against kids

Previous reports link child sexual abuse to suicide


A recent report from Statistics Canada says the rate of child and youth victims of police-reported sexual offences is still highest in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

The report, released May 28, says that in 2012, the rate of young victims in the NWT was 895 per 100,000 young people under age 17, and in Nunavut, it was slightly less with 878 per 100,000.

This compares to the national rate of 204 per 100,000.

The provinces with the highest rate of young victims of sex offences were Manitoba, with a rate of 316 per 100,000 youth and Saskatchewan, with a rate of 306.

It’s not always simple to compare statistics between the territories and provinces, because the territories have such small comparative populations so that even small, raw numbers seem to get amplified.

For example, if the rate was changed to per 1,000 people, Nunavut’s rate would be 8.7. However, any rate is too high.

Here’s why: a McGill University analysis of the results gathered from the 2007-08 Qanuippitali Inuit Health Survey, showed that nearly half of all respondents had thought about suicide at some point in their lives and nearly one in four had attempted it.

The Qanuippitali results, released in October 2012, also revealed that four of every 10 respondents — 41 per cent — reported suffering severe sexual abuse as children: half of all women and one fifth of all men.

Another report, released in June 2013 by the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, a psychiatric hospital affiliated with McGill University in Montreal, studied and ranked risk factors associated with suicide in Nunavut.

That 2013 report found that people “exposed to childhood sexual and physical abuse were at a higher risk of committing suicide.”

The new Statistics Canada report on sex crime against minors says that 14,000 children and youth had been victims of police-reported sexual abuse in Canada in 2012.

The report did not venture to say what percentage of sexual abuse goes unreported.

According to the report, young victims under 18 account for more than half (55 per cent) of all victims of sexual offences reported by police, even though they make up only one fifth of Canada’s population.

The rate of young female victims was five times higher than the rate for young male victims, Statistics Canada said.

Nine out of 10 victims knew the accused, the report said. Most (44 per cent) knew the accused as an acquaintance or a family member (38 per cent).

The census metropolitan area (CMA) of Saguenay, across the St. Lawrence River and due north of Québec, had the highest rate of sexual offences against children and youth among Canada’s CMAs at 523 per 100,000.

It was followed by Kingston, Ontario, at 350 per 100,000, and Moncton, New Brunswick, at 312.

A census metropolitan area has a minimum population of 100,000 people with at least 50,000 living in the urban core.

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