Crime and Abuse Against Seniors:
A Review of the Research Literature With Special Reference to the Canadian Situation


4.4 Sex and Victimization

Table 4.5 shows that male seniors have about 50 percent more police-reported violent acts committed against them than do females (Ogrodnick, 2008). This difference in the victimization of the sexes is primarily due to the higher rates of violence against men committed by strangers and by friends or acquaintances. Female seniors, on the other hand, are more likely to be victimized by a family member than are males. This fact may, in part, explain the gender gap in reported violence, as the crimes against women may be less likely to be reported due to family involvement.

Table 4.5 Violent Victimization by Sex and Relationship to Accused, 2006

Relationship of Accused to Victim Total Victims Per 100,000 Seniors Female Victims Per 100,000 Seniors Male Victims Per 100,000 Seniors
Known to victim 83 74 96
Strangers 40 29 54
Family 43 47 37
Friends/Acquaintances 41 27 59
Total Violence 123 103 150

Source: L. Ogrodnick (2008) Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile. Ottawa: Statistics Canada (UCR2, 2006).

Table 4.6 indicates that the most common form of violent crime against seniors is assault (level 1), followed by robbery, uttering threats, and major assault (Ogrodnick, 2008). While senior women are more likely than men to be victims of sexual assault and as likely as men to face criminal harassment, men are especially more likely to be victims of major and common assaults, as well as threats.

Senior victims are somewhat more likely than non-seniors to be victimized by someone they know. In 2007, 65 percent of all reported violent incidents against seniors and 55 percent of incidents against non-seniors involved an accused who was a family member, friend or acquaintance (Statistics Canada, 2009).

Table 4.6 Senior Victims of Violent Crime by Offence Type and Sex, 2006

Offence Victims Per 100,000 Female Victims Per 100,000 Male Victims Per 100,000
Homicide/attempts 1 1 1
Sexual assault (levels 1-3) 2 4 0
Major assault (levels 2 & 3) 15 10 21
Common assault (level 1) 49 42 58
Robbery 20 17 23
Criminal harassment 7 7 7
Uttering threats 23 17 30
Other violent offences 6 4 7
Total 123 102 147

Source: L. Ogrodnick (2008) Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile. Ottawa: Statistics Canada (UCR2, 2006).