JustFacts

Sexual Violations against ChildrenFootnote 1 and Child Pornography

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March 2019

Research and Statistics Division

This fact sheet is based on publicly available data from 2010 to 2017Footnote 2 from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS).

Police-reported incidents of sexual violations against children continue to increaseFootnote 3

There were 8,046 sexual violations against childrenFootnote 4 in 2017, which represents a 118% increase (+4,362 incidents) from 2010. The rate of 11 incidents per 100,000 population in 2010 increased to 22 incidents per 100,000 population in 2017. This increase is primarily attributable to significant increases in incidents of luring a child via computers (including the agreement or arrangement to commit a sexual offence against a child). Reports of 'luring a child' increased from 511 incidents in 2010 to 1,310 incidents in 2017. Another factor that could account for the increase in reports of sexual violations against children is the establishment of specialized units in a police service proactively investigating this type of crime.

Police-reported incidents of child pornographyFootnote 5 continue to riseFootnote 6

There were 6,521 police-reported incidents of child pornography in 2017, which represents a 288% increase (+4,840 incidents) from 2010. Accordingly, the rate of 5 incidents per 100,000 population in 2010 rose to 18 incidents per 100,000 population in 2017.

Number of criminal court cases for "other sexual offences" has increasedFootnote 7

There were 3,650 "other sexual offences" cases in 2015/2016, which represents a 56% increase from 2010/2011 (2,338 cases). Of note, not all "other sexual offences" are strictly offences against children.Footnote 8

Percentage of "other sexual offences"Footnote 9 cases resulting in a finding of guilt is decreasing while the number of cases stayed or withdrawn is increasing

In 2015/2016, 59% of "other sexual offences" cases resulted in a guilty verdict compared to 68% in 2010/2011. In 2015/2016, 34% of "other sexual offences" cases were stayed or withdrawn compared to 26% in 2010/2011.

The percentage of guilty cases resulting in custody sentences is increasingFootnote 10

In 2015/2016, out of the 2,142 "other sexual offences" cases that resulted in a guilty verdict, 68% received custody as the most serious sentence, 17% received probation, 12% received an "other" sentenceFootnote 11, 2% received a conditional sentence and 1% received a fine. This can be compared to 2010/2011 when out of the 1,597 "other sexual offences" cases that resulted in a guilty verdict, 63% of guilty cases received custody as the most serious sentence, 23% received probation, 9% received an "other" sentence, 4% received a conditional sentence and 2% received a fine.

It takes about 11 months to completeFootnote 12 an "other sexual offences" case compared to 4 months for a Criminal Code caseFootnote 13

It took about 325 days to complete a case of "other sexual offence" in adult court in 2015/2016, which is 57 days longer than in 2010/2011. For comparison, in 2016/2017, it took a median of 141 daysFootnote 14 to complete a Criminal Code case, which is 22 days longer than in 2010/2011.

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