Understanding Family Violence and Sexual Assault in the Territories, First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples

2. Methodology

Data were gathered across the three territories using Crown Prosecutor files which include information on offences, the accused, and the victims. There was a total of 7,175 cases of family violence and sexual assault across the territories between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2004. To draw a sample from these, Crown Prosecutor files were stratified first by territory, then by type of offence. A sample total of 556 files was then extracted using a random start, from the 2,190 Crown Prosecutor files of sexual assault offences. Similarly, a stratified random sample of 918 files was drawn from the 4,985 Crown Prosecutor files of family violence offences. Together, these two samples totalled 1,474 files.

Sexual assault data were gathered on the following Criminal Code (CC) offences:


Data on family violence were gathered on the following Criminal Code (CC) offences:

While data were collected on all offences in the file, the data reported here are on the most serious charge only unless otherwise specified. The definition of most serious offence used is that of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics of Statistics Canada. Using this definition, the most serious offence is the offence with the highest likelihood of incarceration and the longest sentence length, which reflect the seriousness of the violence. For example, sexual assault with a weapon (CC, ss. 272) is deemed more serious than sexual assault (CC. ss. 271).

Data were gathered on offences, offenders, victims, and the criminal justice process. Variables include:

  • demographic variables of accused and victims;
  • charges in current offence;
  • most serious offence;
  • prior conviction(s);
  • sentencing, i.e., incarceration, conditional sentence, probation, etc.;
  • relationship between accused and victim;
  • most serious injury to victim;
  • victim impact statements;
  • known psychological or psychiatric disorder of the accused;
  • known physical victimization of accused;
  • known sexual victimization of accused;
  • known psychological victimization of accused;
  • known history of attempted suicide or known ideation of suicide; and
  • known history of substance abuse.

The file review questionnaire is included as Appendix A.

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