An Estimation of the Economic Impact of Violent Victimization in Canada, 2009
Sexual Assault and Other Sexual Offences
The sexual assault and other sexual offences category presents some of the most serious difficulties for costing. The nature of these crimes means that victims may experience physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual impacts unique among crime victims. Compounding the difficulties is that the data for sexual assault and other sexual offences are themselves problematic. Sexual offences data suffer from severe underreporting; these crimes are less likely to be reported to police than both assault and robbery, and overall it is estimated that approximately only one in ten incidents are reported to police (Brennan and Taylor-Butts 2008). This lack of reporting is noticeable in specific cost items like police costs and court costs, where the true extent of the impacts of sexual offences is hidden, and other crimes may therefore seem comparatively more serious.Footnote 41
Seven crimes (as listed in police sources) are included in this section: level 3 (aggravated) sexual assault, level 2 (weapon or bodily harm) sexual assault, level 1 sexual assault, incest, anal intercourse, voyeurism, and other sexual violations. Sexual exploitation of a person with a disability would also be included but there were no police-reported incidents of this offence involving adult victims in 2009.
Sexual assault in Canada as defined in the Canadian Criminal Code is fundamentally different than equivalent offences as defined in many other developed nations, and the factors that determine what level of sexual assault charge (or the equivalent in other nations) is given also differ. Martin’s Annual Criminal Code, 2010 (Greenspan and Rosenberg 2009) states in the annotations for s. 271 (p. 572) that
Sexual assault is an assault, within any one of the definitions of that concept in s. 265(1), which is committed in circumstances of a sexual nature such that the sexual integrity of the victim is violated.
For the definitions of assault in s. 265(1) see Assault. Level 1 sexual assault (s. 271) is not defined further than the definition of s. 265(1), though sexual objectives and nature are considered. The higher levels of sexual assault are defined in terms of the weapons used in the commission of the offence or the severity of violence, threats, and harm to the victim. Level 2 sexual assault is called “sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm”, and is defined in s. 272:
- (1) Every person commits an offence who, in committing a sexual assault,
- (a) carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation of a weapon;
- (b) threatens to cause bodily harm to a person other than the complainant;
- (c) causes bodily harm to the complainant; or
- (d) is a party to the offence with any person.
Level 3 sexual assault, or “aggravated sexual assault” is defined in s. 273 as:
- (1) Every one commits an aggravated sexual assault who, in committing a sexual assault, wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant.
Brennan and Taylor-Butts (2008, p. 7) summarize the definitions of sexual assaults in Canada, based on the Criminal Code:
- Sexual assault level 1 (s. 271):
- An assault committed in circumstances of a sexual nature such that the sexual integrity of the victim is violated. Level 1 involves minor physical injuries or no injuries to the victim.
- Sexual assault level 2 (s. 272):
- Sexual assault with a weapon, threats, or causing bodily harm.
- Aggravated sexual assault (level 3):
- Sexual assault that results in wounding, maiming, disfiguring or endangering the life of the victim.
In contrast, many other nations’ sexual offence legislation uses definitions that are mainly based on the sexual nature of the crimes. The UK’s Sexual Offences Act, 2003 contains definitions of rape (penetration by penis without consent), assault by penetration (penetration by any body part or anything else without consent), sexual assault (intentional sexual touching without consent), and causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent. New Zealand’s Crimes Act, 1961 s. 128 also defines rape essentially as penetration by penis without consent, while a sexual violation in general is defined as unlawful sexual connection without consent. California’s Penal Code s. 261 defines rape as
“an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person not the spouse of the perpetrator … (1) where a person is incapable … of giving legal consent … (2) where it is accomplished against a person’s will” among many other possible circumstances, while it also defines
“rape of a person who is the spouse of the perpetrator is an act of sexual intercourse … (1) where it is accomplished against a person’s will …” among many other possible circumstances.
By the definition in the Canadian Criminal Code then, what would be defined as rape in other countries (and what used to be defined as rape in Canada) could fall under the Criminal Code’s sexual assault level 1, sexual assault level 2, or sexual assault level 3, depending on the severity of the assault. As stated in Johnson (2012),
A man who commits forced penetration, formerly legally known as rape, can be charged and prosecuted under any of these sections, including 271 if it is determined that the attack did not involve a weapon, bodily harm, or multiple assailants.
The other four sexual violations examined in this report are found in the Criminal Code: incest in s. 154, anal intercourse in section 159, and voyeurism in s. 162. The fourth violation, “other sexual violations”, was recently reconfigured into various crimes in the police-reported data. According to the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey’s 2011 and Historical Canada/Province/CMA Note document:
“Other sexual violations” officially expired in 2008 and divided into the following violations: sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, sexual exploitation, incest, corrupting children, luring a child via a computer, anal intercourse, bestiality/commit/compel/incite a person, voyeurism. Police services have been able to utilise these new codes over the past few years as their Records Management Systems have been updated to allow it. Comparison with previous years’ data should be done with caution. (Statistics Canada 2012, p. 6)
Though officially expired, there were still incidents recorded as “other sexual violations” in 2009, which causes challenges in the calculations of some cost items.
The GSS contains two categories of sexual offences: “sexual attack” and “unwanted sexual touching”. Sexual attack is defined in the question posed to respondents by interviewers as,
“During the past 12 months, has anyone forced you or attempted to force you into any unwanted sexual activity, by threatening you, holding you down or hurting you in some way?” Unwanted sexual touching is defined in the question posed to respondents as,
“During the past 12 months, has anyone ever touched you against your will in any sexual way? By this I mean anything from unwanted touching or grabbing, to kissing or fondling.” (Brennan and Taylor-Butts (2008).)
According to the GSS, there were 382,066 sexual offence incidents (including both sexual attacks and unwanted sexual touching) against females in 2009, 179,741 incidents against males, and 561,807 total incidents.
For details on the offences included in this section and for the matching of offences across data sources, see Crime Categories and Sexual assault and other sexual offences.
See An Estimation of the Economic Impact of Violent Victimization in Canada, 2009: Technical Appendices (Hoddenbagh et al. 2013) for detailed technical tables with explanations of the data sources and methodology used in each cost item calculation.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives provides another resource that examines the costs of sexual assault against women in Canada. The report (McInturff 2013), titled The Gap in the Gender Gap, uses the methodology developed in Zhang et al. (2012).
Victims of sexual assault and other sexual offences can sue the offenders in civil court, and this scenario is described in Text Box S.1. This important mechanism provides victims, at least to a minimal extent, an alternative to the criminal justice system to receive recognition for their traumatizing experiences.
Text Box S.1: Sexual Assault and Civil Actions
Victims of sexual assault and other sexual offences can seek damages through civil actions. Civil action seeking damages are civil lawsuits initiated by plaintiffs against defendants for alleged wrongful conduct. Depending upon the jurisdiction, there may be other remedies available for victims as well, such as criminal proceedings, criminal injuries compensation,Footnote 42 human rights complaints,Footnote 43 labour grievances, and public or private inquiries. The civil justice system plays an important role to determine how society compensates various claims, such as claims of sexual assault and other sexual offences (British Columbia Law Institute 2001). A civil action will frame the issues and develop principles for compensation. In the past two decades, civil actions for sexual assault have become more frequent and hence, a body of case law has developed that provides guidance to lower courts when assessing non-pecuniary damages (intangible losses such as pain and suffering) for the impacts of sexual assault.
Civil and criminal law recognize that sexual assault has a harmful impact — particularly psychological and emotional harm — on victims, and potentially on family and friends of victims. Yet despite years of court decisions, it remains difficult to quantify in monetary terms these intangible impacts. Aggravated or punitive damages may be awarded to punish the defendant and deter others from such actions. If there has been a conviction in a criminal process, the sentence may be deemed to serve the punitive function. Pecuniary damages are awarded for economic losses (e.g. lost wages, medical expenses, future loss of earning and future costs of care) with the goal of restoring the plaintiff to the same position they would have been in had the injury not occurred.
All these damages, if awarded, are costs to the defendant, which (like fines in the criminal justice system) have not been included in this report. There are significant costs to both the plaintiff and defendant in civil actions and legal aid is available in only a few jurisdictions (BC, Alberta, Quebec) provided the applicants meet eligibility and merit criteria. There are also costs to the court system. No data exist on the number of civil actions for sexual assault and other sexual offences in the country in 2009, so costs cannot be calculated. Yet readers will have an understanding of what civil actions entail.
A review of civil sexual assault cases in Canada found that between 2001 and 2011, there were 67 cases involving female plaintiffs where damages were awarded (average pain and suffering award: $271,000) and 38 similar cases with male plaintiffs (average pain and suffering award: $193,000). The specific circumstances of these cases are unknown, and they could include cases of childhood sexual abuse in the past or current adult sexual assault.Footnote 44
Table S.1 presents a comprehensive summary of the costs of victimization of adults who were sexually assaulted or otherwise sexually victimized by persons other than a spouse in 2009.
For most of the results in Table S.1 female victims of sexual assault and other sexual offences sustain a much greater impact than male victims. However, the most prominent anomaly to this pattern is counselling costs. The base number for counselling costs comes from the GSS question that asks respondents if they received counselling services due to the incident. In contrast to other results for this crime category, the number of male respondents who answered yes was relatively close to the number of female respondents who answered yes. As no data could be found on the different counselling characteristics of male and female patients, one average number of counselling sessions was applied to both genders. This results in total counselling costs that appear much closer between males and females than other effects of sexual assault and other sexual offences.
Table S.1A: Sexual assault and other sexual offences – summary of costs - Justice System Costs
|Cost category or item||Female victims||Male victims||Total|
|Legal aid costs||$2,591,927||$207,546||$2,799,473|
|Federal custody costs||$27,284,956||$2,228,513||$29,513,469|
|Provincial custody costs||$8,182,496||$682,632||$8,865,128|
|Conditional sentence costs||$631,636||$51,561||$683,197|
|FinesTable note *||$2,002||$205||$2,207|
|Total Justice System Costs||$137,693,965||$12,355,133||$150,049,098|
|Cost category or item||Female victims||Male victims||Total|
|Doctor or nurse service costs||$93,628||$27,861||$121,489|
|Emergency department costs||$1,374,390||$0||$1,374,390|
|Overnight hospitalization costs||$1,683,717||$0||$1,683,717|
|Sub-total Initial health care costs||$3,151,735||$27,861||$3,179,597|
|Costs of suicide attempts||$4,969,301||$478,439||$5,447,740|
|Sub-total Long-term health care costs||$56,011,975||$48,481,997||$104,493,971|
|Total Medical costs||$64,133,011||$48,988,297||$113,121,308|
|Lost current income||$17,423,778||$395,484||$17,819,262|
|Lost household services||$2,554,025||$281,416||$2,835,441|
|Lost child care services||$0||$0||$0|
|Lost future income||$188,339,512||$0||$188,339,512|
|Long-term physical disability costs||$6,936,275||$0||$6,936,275|
|Mental health disability costs||$181,403,237||$0||$181,403,237|
|Total Lost productivity||$210,169,873||$676,900||$210,846,773|
|Pain and suffering costs||$3,140,618,999||$1,151,014,152||$4,291,633,150|
|Total Intangible costs||$3,140,618,999||$1,151,014,152||$4,291,633,150|
|Stolen, damaged, or destroyed property costs||$576,966||$0||$576,966|
|Total Victim costs||$3,415,498,849||$1,200,679,349||$4,616,178,197|
|Cost category or item||Female victims||Male victims||Total|
|Tardiness and distraction costs||$6,770,508||$9,449,992||$16,220,500|
|Lost additional output||$906,036||$20,565||$926,602|
|Total Employer losses||$8,872,446||$9,555,258||$18,427,704|
|Social Services Operating Costs|
|Victim services costs||$25,627,987||$5,290,441||$30,918,427|
|Crisis centre and crisis line costs||$580,760||$438,640||$1,019,400|
|Total Social services operating costs||$26,208,747||$5,729,081||$31,937,827|
|Total Third-party costs||$35,081,192||$15,284,339||$50,365,531|
|Cost category or item||Female victims||Male victims||Total|
|Justice System Costs||$137,693,965||$12,355,133||$150,049,098|
Note: Categories in bolded font are summations of the cost items listed under those categories.
S.J. Justice System Costs
S.J.1 Criminal Justice System Costs
It is necessary to calculate the police, court, prosecution, and legal aid resources spent per incident for each crime type as doing so allows for distinction of non-spousal, adult victim incidents, whereas only calculating the total resources spent on each crime would not exclude incidents involving spousal relationships and youth victims.
The numbers of court cases, used in calculations of court, prosecution, and legal aid costs, are adjusted upwards by 5% to account for the 95% national coverage of the data sources.
S.J.1.1 Police Costs
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used in this section, see A.J.1.1 Police Costs.
Table S.2 shows all of the pertinent police cost information, by gender.
|Offence||Severity weightTable note A||Police cost per incidentTable note B||Number of incidents againstTable note C||Police costs for incidents against|
|Sexual assault – level 1||211||$10,253||7,565||648||$77,564,272||$6,647,222|
|Sexual assault — level 2 — weapon or bodily harm||678||$32,967||170||25||$5,597,035||$831,559|
|Sexual assault — level 3 — aggravated||1,047||$50,894||68||12||$3,475,715||$595,837|
|Other sexual violations||296||$14,391||35||8||$508,801||$110,011|
The police costs for non-spousal, adult victim incidents of sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $97,714,784.
S.J.1.2 Court Costs
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used in this section, see A.J.1.2 Court Costs.
In this section, the “rate of charges resulting in court cases” for “sexual assault” must be applied to “other sexual offences” as well, since the definitions of “other sexual offences” between the police and court data are too disparate and therefore the data cannot be compared between the two.
The court costs for cases that took place due to incidents of non-spousal, adult victim sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $5,672,864.
S.J.1.3 Prosecution Costs
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used in this section, see A.J.1.3 Prosecution Costs.
The prosecution costs for cases that took place due to incidents of non-spousal, adult victim sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $3,948,759.
S.J.1.4 Legal Aid Costs
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used in this section, see A.J.1.4 Legal Aid Costs.
The legal aid costs for cases that took place due to incidents of non-spousal, adult victim sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $2,799,473.
Text Box S.2 describes a situation unique to sexual assault and other sexual offences in which a victim becomes a party in a criminal case and is provided with legal aid.
Text Box S.2: Motions for Third Party Records
In 1997, Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (production of records in sexual offence proceedings), S.C. 1997, c.30, came into effect putting in place a structured regime for judges to follow when the defence is seeking a complainant’s personal records such as diaries, medical records, counselling records, or child protection records (see McDonald et al. 2006) in sexual offence cases, including sexual assault (levels 1, 2, 3). The legislation was immediately challenged as unconstitutional and the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the legislation in the case of R. v. Mills ((1999) 3 S.C.R. 668). The regime requires the defence to show “likely relevance” of the records in question in order for a judge to order their production. If the records are produced, the judge will then make a second decision as to whether all, or parts, or none of the records will be disclosed to the defence.
The procedure, including a list of factors that judges must take into consideration, is found in s. 278.1 to 278.91 of the Criminal Code. Two of the important considerations are “the accused’s right to make full answer and defence and … the right of privacy and equality of the complainant (s. 278.7(2)). In 2011, the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs undertook a review of the legislation (December 2012).Footnote 45
The application for production and disclosure of third party records is raised by defence and a motion, or hearing takes place in camera. No data exist in terms of how many such motions took place in 2009.
From an economic impact perspective, these motions, but importantly, the complainant and the third party record holder, become parties to the proceedings and may be represented by counsel. Several provinces provide legal aid to complainants to select a private bar lawyer. Applicants do not need to meet financial eligibility criteria for legal aid in BC, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
For example, in British Columbia, there were approximately eight complainants in the fiscal year 2009/10 who were provided legal aid for a third party records motion, at an average cost of $693.42 per case. In Ontario, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) will provide representation and coverage for complainants who cannot afford counsel in order the challenge the application. While applicants must be financially eligible, they do not have to establish merit. LAO has a panel of lawyers who are experienced in third party records applications. There were 28 completed cases in 2009 and the average cost per case was $1,891.13. These legal aid costs have been included in the section on legal aid as they are part of the total cost of criminal legal aid.
S.J.1.5 Corrections Costs
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used for Table S.3 and Table S.4, see A.J.1.5 Corrections Costs.
Table S.3 shows the proportion that each sentence is given for sexual assault and other sexual offences crimes (calculated from the ACCS and the YCS), for all crimes and victims (i.e., no conditions).
|Other sexual offences||64.4%||56.3%||5.3%||2.7%||19.8%||18.8%||2.5%||7.1%||8.1%||15.2%|
|Other sexual offences||10.1%||9.0%||0.0%||0.0%||62.2%||54.4%||0.0%||0.0%||27.7%||36.6%>|
Source 1: Statistics Canada, CCJS, ACCS – Guilty cases by most serious sentence, CANSIM 252-0057.
Source 2: Statistics Canada. CCJS, YCS – Guilty cases by most serious sentence, CANSIM 252-0068
Table S.4 shows the number of offenders estimated to have been given each sentence for committing sexual assault and other sexual offences crimes in 2009, for non-spousal, adult victim incidents. There figures are used as the base counts in the estimations of the costs of each sentence type.
|Female victims - Sexual assault||391||87||149||3||66|
|Female victims - Other sexual offences||34||3||10||1||4|
|Male Victims - Sexual assault||30||7||12||0||5|
|Male Victims - Other sexual offences||6||0||2||0||1|
|Total Victims - Sexual assault||422||94||161||3||71|
|Total Victims - Other sexual offences||39||3||12||2||5|
|Female victims - Sexual assault||5||0||18||0||9|
|Female victims - Other sexual offences||5||0||33||0||15|
|Male Victims - Sexual assault||0||0||2||0||1|
|Male Victims - Other sexual offences||0||0||0||0||0|
|Total Victims - Sexual assault||5||0||20||0||9|
|Total Victims - Other sexual offences||5||0||33||0||15|
Source 1: Statistics Canada, CCJS, UCR2 – Incident-based crime statistics, by detailed violations, CANSIM 252-0051.
Source 2: CCJS special data request.
Source 3: Statistics Canada, CCJS, ACCS – Number of cases and charges by type of decision, CANSIM 252-0053.
Source 4: Statistics Canada, CCJS, YCS – Number of cases and charges by type of decision, CANSIM 252-0064.
Source 5: Statistics Canada, CCJS, ACCS – Guilty cases by most serious sentence, CANSIM 252-0057.
Source 6: Statistics Canada. CCJS, YCS – Guilty cases by most serious sentence, CANSIM 252-0068
Source 7: Table S.3.
Note: See Table AP.S.J.E3 for a more detailed version of this table, with offenders separated by gender.
S.J.1.5.1 Federal custody costs
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used in this section, see A.J.1.5.1 Federal custody costs.
The estimated average length of federal custody sentences for sexual assault and other sexual offences was 1,290 days in 2009. The numbers of offenders sentenced to federal custody for sexual assault and other sexual offences are as follows: 105 males for violence against females, 0 females for violence against females, 8 males for violence against males, and 0 females for violence against males.
The federal custody costs due to incidents of non-spousal, adult victim sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $29,513,469.
S.J.1.5.2 Provincial custody costs
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used in this section, see A.J.1.5.2 Provincial custody costs.
For sexual assault and other sexual offences, the average length of provincial custody sentences was 230 days for male offenders and 165 days for female offenders. The numbers of offenders sentenced to provincial custody for sexual assault and other sexual offences are as follows: 330 males for violence against females, 1 female for violence against females, 27 males for violence against males, and 0 females for violence against males.
The provincial custody costs due to incidents of non-spousal, adult victim sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $8,865,128.
S.J.1.5.3 Conditional sentence costs
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used in this section, see A.J.1.5.3 Conditional sentence costs.
The average conditional sentence length for sexual assault is 289 days.
Given the number of offenders sentenced to a conditional sentence from Table S.4 (90 for violence against female victims and 7 for violence against males), the conditional sentence costs due to incidents of non-spousal, adult victim sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $683,197.
S.J.1.5.4 Probation costs
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used in this section, see A.J.1.5.4 Probation costs.
The average probation sentence length for males was 543 days and for females was 480 days.
The number of offenders sentenced to probation is given in Table S.4 (210 males for violence against females, 1 female for violence against females, 15 males for violence against males, 1 female for violence against males). The probation costs due to incidents of non-spousal, adult victim sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $851,423.
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used in this section, see A.J.1.5.5 Fines.
Costs to the offender are not included in this report (see Sources of Economic Impacts for reasons), and fines are calculated here for illustrative purposes only. These results are not included in any summations of total costs.
The average fine amount for sexual assault and other sexual offences in general is $456.
This average fine amount is then multiplied by the number of offenders receiving fines from Table S.4 (4 for violence against females, 0 for violence against males). The fine costs to offenders due to incidents of non-spousal, adult victim sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $2,207.
S.V. Victim Costs
S.V.1 Medical Costs
S.V.1.1 Initial Health Care Costs
The 2009 GSS shows that no sexual assault victims went to hospital. However, there is substantial evidence showing that sexual assault victims do sustain injuries. The GSS itself shows that female victims reported injuries for 19,852 incidents and males victims report injuries for 2,795 incidents (though they stated that they had received no medical attention at a hospital), and US Centers for Disease Control (2001) state that in the US
“sexual assault was the fourth leading cause of violence-related, non fatal-injury related ED [emergency department] visits”.
Due to this evidence, it is assumed that there were sexual assault victims in 2009 who actually did require medical attention at a hospital, but for unknown reasons (e.g., GSS did not capture these people, sexual assault victims did not report their victimization or this specific aspect of victimization, etc.) this went unreported in the 2009 GSS. Therefore, responses to these particular questions regarding medical attention from the 2004 GSS are used to estimate the number of victims requiring medical attention in 2009. An adjustment involving the number of victims who reported an injury in the 2004 GSS and 2009 GSS is made to each 2004 GSS result to estimate the number of people relevant to each cost item in 2009.
S.V.1.1.1 Doctor or nurse service costs
Not included in the cost analysis for this section are the specific costs associated with Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs). SANEs work out of hospitals and are usually on-call available 24 hours a day. They are fairly common across the country with the first nurse examiner program developed in Ontario in 1995. These medical professionals are trained in a range of services to provide victims of sexual assault with comprehensive and sensitive care. With victim consent, SANEs can perform a medical and forensic examination, and the resulting evidence may be legally accepted in a court of law. Nurses themselves may testify as expert witnesses in criminal cases. SANEs are also trained to provide medical and psychological care to the victim in a timely and comforting fashion. Sexual assault is a crime that engenders unique feelings in and consequences for victims, and SANEs provide help that is sensitive to the specific needs of these victims.
The 2004 GSS and 2009 GSS find there were about 1,712 times physician visits of female victims and 509 times physician visits of male victims nurse due to a sexual assault in 2009. The cost of one physician visit in 2009, from Canadian Institute for Health Information (2007), was $55 after inflation adjustment.
Multiplying the number of victims by the cost per visit, the doctor or nurse service costs due to incidents of non-spousal, adult victim sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $121,489.
S.V.1.1.2 Emergency department costs
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used in this section, see A.V.1.1.2 Emergency department costs.
The 2004 GSS and 2009 GSS find that female victims of sexual assault required medical attention at a hospital or health centre 3,300 times, and no male victims visited hospital or health centre. As with assault, it is assumed that 25% of emergency department visits due to sexual assault involve ambulatory transportation.
The emergency department costs due to incidents of non-spousal, adult victim sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $1,374,390.
S.V.1.1.3 Overnight hospitalization costs
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used in this section, see A.V.1.1.3 Overnight hospitalization costs.
The 2004 GSS and 2009 GSS find that female victims spent 1,687 nights in hospital due to sexual assault and other sexual offences incidents in 2009.
The overnight hospitalization costs due to incidents of non-spousal, adult victim sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $1,683,717.
S.V.1.2 Long-term Health Care Costs
S.V.1.2.1 Counselling costs
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used in this section, see A.V.1.2.1 Counselling costs.
The 2009 GSS finds that female victims used counseling services 34,648 times and male victims used counselling services 30,824 times in response to a sexual assault incident. New and Berliner (2000) find that the average number of counselling sessions for sexual assault victims is 18.5.Footnote 46
The counselling costs due to incidents of non-spousal, adult victim sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $102,909,860.
S.V.1.2.2 Medication costs
Medication costs for sexual assault and other sexual offences are based on a specific scenario in which the crime committed was rape and in which the victimization results in the victim developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is recognized that this specific scenario captures only a relatively small proportion of the victims of sexual assault and other sexual offences who may develop PTSD or require medication for some other effect of the incident. All types and severities of sexual assault are traumatizing and can result in medication use, but the available data sources only indicate the rate of PTSD development for incidents of rape and not other types of sexual assault, so any other medication costs cannot be estimated with confidence.
In the GSS, sexual assault covers two types of violence – sexual attack and unwanted sexual touching. In 2009, there were about 44,455 female victims and 22,725 male victims reported that they had sustained “sexual attacks” as classified in the GSS.Footnote 47 Victims of “sexual attack” are assumed to have possibly sustained rape, while victims of “unwanted sexual touching” are not. The number of these victims who sustained rape is estimated using the information from the UK.Footnote 48 Specifically, data from the Office for National Statistics (UK) indicate that in 2009, 16.7% of all sexual offence against females aged 16 and above in England and Wales were rape and 0.68% of sexual offences against males aged 16 and above were rape.Footnote 49 In this way, it is estimated that 7,406 females and 155 males were victims of rape. Kilpatrick (2010), a source focusing specifically on women that is also used in the analysis for men, shows that 26% of rape victims develop (PTSD) as a result of the victimization. This implies that 1,926 females and 40 males developed PTSD due to a sexual assault in 2009.
Taking the daily cost of PTSD medication treatment from Lapierre et al. (1995) and adjusting for inflation to $2.21, then multiplying by the common length of PTSD treatment (365 days) (National Institute for Clinical Excellence 2005) and the number of victims who developed PTSD, the medication costs due to incidents of non-spousal, adult victim sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $1,584,112.
S.V.1.3 Cost of suicide attempts
Sexual assault can cause great emotional distress to victims, and this may result in depression, and in the most severe cases of depression the victim may suffer from ideations of suicide. The medical costs of suicide attempts are measured here.
For a conservative estimate and because of the nature of the sources used later in the analysis, the base number for victims potentially affected by suicidal thoughts is the number of victims experiencing depression or anxiety attacks due to the victimization. The GSS finds that 18,446 female victims and 6,196 male victims reported experiencing depression or anxiety attacks as a result of the sexual offence. The percentage of adult female sexual assault victims (victims of rape and other sexual violence combined) who attempt suicide is 15.2% (Ullman and Brecklin 2002); the percentage of adult male sexual assault victims who attempt suicide is estimated to be 10.9% and is obtained by multiplying the female percentage by the ratio of male to female suicide attempts in the general US population (Crosby et al. 2011). It follows that 2,804 females and 676 males attempted suicide due to sexual assault victimization in 2009. Using the GSS, Ullman and Brecklin (2002), and Zhang et al. (2012), it is estimated that 18.2% of female suicide attempts and 7.3% of male suicide attempts result in hospitalization, which further implies that 510 relevant female victims and 49 relevant male victims were hospitalized in 2009.
The average length of hospitalization for suicide attempts is 7.74 days (Canadian Institute for Health Information 2011). The average daily hospitalization cost was $998 as estimated in S.V.1.1.3 Overnight hospitalization costs. The Canadian Institute for Health Information (2011) also finds that there are 2.5 emergency department visits due to suicide attempts for every overnight hospitalization. The average emergency department visit cost was $267 as estimated in S.V.1.1.2 Emergency department costs. It is assumed, because of the severe nature of suicide attempts that require medical attention, that 90% of victims who attempt suicide and visit the emergency department require ambulance services, at a per use cost of $600 based on information from several provinces.
Overall, the cost of suicide attempts due to incidents of non-spousal, adult victim sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $5,447,740.
S.V.2 Lost Productivity
S.V.2.1 Lost Current Income
The GSS finds that employed female victims of sexual assault and other sexual offences were unable to attend work for 162,365 work days, and employed male victims were unable to attend work for 11,500 work days. Subtracting the number of days that were covered by paid sick leave benefits, the figures become 139,971 lost days for females and 1,747 lost days for males.Footnote 50 According to GSS, the average daily wage of female sexual assault and other sexual offences victims was $124, and the average daily wage of male assault victims in the GSS was $226.
In this way, the lost current income to adult victims of non-spousal sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 is estimated to be $17,819,262.
S.V.2.2 Lost Household Services
For those victims whose main activity was doing household services, 7.5 hours are assigned for each lost days, which include days in the emergency department, hospitalization days, days in bed outside of the hospital, and other time where victims found it difficult or impossible to carry out his/her main activity. For all other victims whose main activity was not conducting household services, it is estimated that females spend 3.68 hours per day and males spend 2.44 hours per day. See the method for Assault in section R.V.2.1
The GSS finds that female victims lost 192,176 hours of household work and males lost 21,175 hours of household work due to sexual assault and other sexual offences incidents in 2009. At an hourly rate of $13.29, the value of the lost household services of adult victims of non-spousal sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 is estimated to be $2,835,441.
S.V.2.3 Lost Education
The GSS finds that female student victims were unable to go to school for 46,858 school days, and male student victims did not lose any school days. Similarly, these days include days in the emergency department, hospitalization days, days in bed outside of the hospital, and other time where victims found it difficult or impossible to carry out his/her main activity, and have been adjusted to take into account potential school days.
Information from Statistics Canada and academic calendars at major universities shows that the average daily cost of education is approximately $40. The lost education to adult victims of non-spousal sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 is estimated to be $1,852,558.
S.V.2.4 Lost Future Income
S.V.2.4.1 Long-term physical disability costs
The number of employed victims estimated to have sustained an injury, where sustaining an injury is based on the criterion of requiring medical attention at hospital, is 2,826 female victims. It is assumed that out of the total medically treated injuries, 0.3% of the injuries would have caused permanent or long-term disability, according to Corso et al. (2006). That is approximately 8 females who sustained a life time disability resulting from the injury. The average income of female sexual assault victims who were injured was $25,625. The GSS also provides the average age of victims, and assuming that careers last until age 65, that incomes never change, and that inflation is equal to the discount rate, the expected remaining lifetime income is calculated.
The lost future income (due to physical disabilities) of adult victims of non-spousal assault that occurred in 2009 is estimated to be $6,936,275.
S.V.2.4.2 Mental health disability costs
Studying the mental health outcomes of victimization is difficult and can involve subjectivity. To estimate the future costs of mental health degradation, the number of victims developing a mental health problem must first be estimated. To do this, the number of victims who are assumed to be participants in the labour force, who had reported getting “depression/anxiety attacks” because of the incident, and who had never before sustained an assault, robbery, or sexual assault was obtained from the GSS; the result is 6,680 female victims, and these are defined as the victims potentially affected by a mental health issue. To calculate the number of victims actually assumed to have developed a mental health issue, the percentage of sexual assault and other sexual offences victims who have mental health needs for a “severely disabling mental illness” is taken from Miller et al. (1993) (10.0%). Applying this latter number to the numbers of victims who potentially have a mental illness, the estimated number of victims who developed or will develop a serious mental illness is 668 female victims.
The annual income lost due to mental health issues developed by sexual assault and other sexual offences victims is calculated by applying the proportion of annual income lost due to mental health issues in general (from Kessler et al. 2008) to the annual income of GSS respondents, and the result is $8,514 for female victims. Taking the average age of the appropriate respondents and assuming that careers last until age 65, that incomes never change, and that inflation is equal to the discount rate, the lost future income (due to mental disabilities) of adult victims of non-spousal sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 is estimated to be $181,403,237.
It is important to note that, despite no male victims being identified through the GSS in this analysis, male victims of sexual assaults and other offences do experience mental and emotional traumas, and these traumas may be serious enough to cause a loss in future income. One possible explanation for the absence of male victims here is the condition requiring that a victim has not previously been victimized in an assault, robbery, or sexual assault. This condition is applied because including victims with past victimizations would overstate the costs associated with current victimization, as it would be unclear how much of the future effects of victimization (including lost future income) would be caused by the current victimization and how much would be caused by past victimizations. Given this, all of the male victims in the GSS who potentially develop a mental health problem due to a sexual assault and other sexual offences incident in 2009 may have also been victims of crime in the past, including childhood. Cook et al. (2001) show that, among males, the age group most vulnerable to and most sustaining sexual attacks is the 0-14 age group. The mental health impacts of victimization are significant regardless of the age of victimization or how many times someone is victimized, but for accurate costing purposes, this analysis may omit male victims because of past experiences as crime victims. This problem also applies to female victims, which results in an underestimate of the true costs to female victims as well.
S.V.3 Intangible Costs
S.V.3.1 Pain and Suffering Costs
For a brief discussion on the issues raised when valuing intangibles and the methods used to do so, see Valuation of Intangibles.
All sexual assault and other sexual offences victims in the GSS are assumed to experience pain and suffering. There are two categories of sexual crimes in the GSS, and a certain percentage of victims of “sexual attacks” is estimated to have sustained “rape” (as defined in Dolan et al. (2005)), while all other victims (the remaining “sexual attack” victims and all of the victims of “unwanted sexual touching”) are assumed to have sustained the less severe “sexual assault” (as defined in Dolan et al. (2005)). Victims who sustained rape are assigned different values of pain and suffering than those victims who did not. The two categories in the GSS (sexual attacks and unwanted sexual touching) are defined in Introduction (p. 134). Since the Canadian Criminal Code classifies sexual assaults based on factors other than the sexual nature of the crime, the number of rape victims of and sexual assault victims needs to be estimated.
The GSS finds that there were 233,632 female victims and 92,064 male victims of sexual assault and other sexual offences in 2009. The number of rape victims has been estimated in the previous section S.V.1.2.2. (p.145) – 7,406 female victims and 155 male victims are estimated to have sustained rape in 2009. The other victims amounting to 226,226 females and 91,909 males are assumed to have sustained general “sexual assaults”.
The values of pain and suffering are taken from Dolan et al. (2005). After adjusting for inflation and the exchange rate, the value of pain and suffering for rape is estimated to be $43,769 in 2009 Canadian dollars, and the value of pain and suffering for sexual assault is estimated to be $12,450 in 2009 Canadian dollars.
Multiplying the numbers of victims by the values of pain and suffering, the total pain and suffering of adult victims of non-spousal sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 is estimated to be $4,291,633,150.
S.V.4 Other Costs
S.V.4.1 Stolen, Damaged, or Destroyed Property Costs
As in S.V.1.1 Initial Health Care Costs, the 2009 GSS does not find any sexual assault and other sexual offences victims whose property was stolen, damaged, or destroyed, and so this section must also refer back to the 2004 GSS. After adjusting the results of the 2004 GSS to account for the 2009 GSS, it is found that 5,320 female victims had property stolen and 2,395 female victims had property damaged during the crime. As no data on the values of property are available for cases of sexual offences, the values in assault cases must be used as a proxy. The average value of stolen property is therefore $25, while the average value of damaged or destroyed property is $185.
Multiplying the appropriate measures, the stolen, damaged, or destroyed property costs of adult victims of non-spousal sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $576,966.
S.T. Third-Party Costs
S.T.1 Employer Losses
S.T.1.1 Administration Costs
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used in this section, see A.T.1.1 Administration Costs.
The GSS finds that employed female victims were unable to do their main activities for 162,365 working days, and employed male victims were unable to do their main activities for 11,500 working days.
With average hourly wage rates of $37 for managers and $22 for administrators, and assuming 0.125 hours of time spent for managers and 0.125 hours for administrators (a conservative estimate based on estimation in Health and Safety Executive (1999)), the administration costs of employers due to adult victim, non-spousal sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $1,280,603.
S.T.1.2 Tardiness and Distraction Costs
Due to a lack of relevant information, the tardiness and distraction costs of victims of sexual assault and other sexual offences must be based on a study of spousal violence victims (Reeves and O’Leary-Kelly 2007).
Reeves and O’Leary-Kelly (2007) examine the effect of spousal violence on worker productivity. The average value of work lost to tardiness and distraction for victims is compared to the average value of work lost for non-victims. It is calculated that female victims of spousal violence lose 3.9% more productivity than female non-victims and that male victims lose 2.2% more than their non-victim counterparts based on a four-week period of analysis.
An assumption is made, for the sake of a conservative estimate, that only victims of “sexual attacks” (as defined in the GSS) experience tardiness and distraction comparable to that of spousal violence victims. There were 22,449 employed females and 27,547 employed males who experienced sexual attacks. The monthly productivity loss beyond the productivity loss of the non-victim population is calculated with the average wages of sexual attack victims in the GSS, $31,147 for females and $61,332 for males, and the results obtained from the analysis of Reeves and O’Leary-Kelly (2007) above. It is found that employers lose $101 per month for the tardiness and distraction of female victims, and $114 per month for male victims.
Multiplying the number of relevant victims by the monthly losses (assuming only 3 months of tardiness and distraction), the tardiness and distraction costs to employers due to adult victim, non-spousal sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $16,220,500.
S.T.1.3 Lost Additional Output
To calculate the lost additional output to employers, lost wages of employees are multiplied by the expected marginal rate of return to the employer. The total lost wages (from S.V.2.1 Lost Current Income are $17,423,778 for female victims and $395,484 for male victims, and the expected marginal rate of return is 5.2% (Boardman et al. 2008). A marginal rate of return on investment of 5.2% means that if an employer invests (disinvests) an additional $100, as through employee wages, the employer expects to gain (lose) $5.20 in net returns.
Multiplying the lost wages by the expected rate of return, the lost additional output of employers due to adult victim, non-spousal sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 is estimated to be $926,602.
S.T.2 Social Services Operating Costs
One important cost that cannot be estimated here is the cost of support centres. The GSS finds that 14,453 female and 25,722 male victims of sexual assault and other sexual offences in 2009 used one of the various categories of support centres listed in the GSS: “community centre, CLSC or family centre”, “women’s centre”, or “men’s centre/men’s support group or seniors’ centre”. There is no available information on the operational costs of these services or on the average duration of use by clients.
S.T.2.1 Victim Services Costs
The method used here to calculate victim services costs differs from the method used for the other crime categories because detailed information is available specifically for sexual offences in Munch (2012), which is based on the Victim Services Survey (VSS). Munch (2012) finds that 410,000 people used victim services in Canada in 2009/2010, of which 88.0% were over the age of 18 and 75.0% were female; this gives 270,600 female clients over 18 and 90,200 male clients over 18. The source also finds that 20.8% of females and 12.9% of males, or 56,225 females and 11,607 males, used victim services in response to non-spousal sexual assault.
Information from Sauvé (2009) is used to calculate the operating cost per victim service agency, which is $269,767 after inflation adjustment to 2009. Dividing by the number of victims assisted per agency (592), the operating cost per victim was $456 in 2009.Footnote 51
Multiplying the number of victims using victim services by the operating cost per victim, the victim services costs due to adult victim, non-spousal sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $30,918,427.
S.T.2.2 Crisis Line Costs
For information on data sources and a description of the methodology used in this section, see A.T.2.2 Crisis Line Costs.
The GSS finds that 14,519 female and 10,966 male victims of sexual assault and other sexual offences in 2009 visited a crisis centre or called a crisis line because of the crime.
The GSS finds that female victims visited a crisis centre or called a crisis line 14,519 times and male victims visited a crisis centre or called a crisis line 10,966 times because of the crime. Again, due to the GSS data limitations, an assumption is made that all respondents who answered that they had used either of these services only called a crisis line to ensure a conservative estimate.
The crisis line costs due to adult victim, non-spousal sexual assault and other sexual offences that occurred in 2009 are estimated to be $1,019,400.
- Date modified: