The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada, 2016: A Focus on Family Violence in Canada

Each year, the Chief Public Health Officer releases a report on the state of public health in Canada. This year’s report, The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada, 2016: A Focus on Family Violence in Canada focuses on family violence in Canada.

In 2014, 131 Canadians died at the hands of a family member and there were 133,920 reported victims of dating or family violence, with the majority of victims being women. Just under nine million Canadians have reported experiencing abuse before the age of 15 years.

This report explores how and why family violence is an important public health issue for Canadians and what can be done about it. Included in this report are the following sections:

  • Impacts on Canadians explores the extent of family violence in Canada and its impacts on the health and well-being of Canadians.
  • Influencing the risk for family violence examines various individual, family/social, community and societal factors that influence the risk for family violence.
  • Life course perspective provides a snapshot of family violence over the lifespan by exploring child maltreatment, intimate partner violence and mistreatment of older adults.
  • Preventing family violence looks at how approaches and practices are addressing family violence through primary prevention.


  • In Canada, every day, just over 230 Canadians are reported as victims of family violence.
  • In 2014, 57,835 girls and women were victims of family violence — accounting for seven out of every 10 reported cases.
  • In Canada, every four days, a woman is killed by a family member.
  • Between 2004 and 2014, half of child victims of family-related homicide (160) were under the age of four.
  • Population surveys tell us that a third of Canadians, that is nine million people, have reported experiencing abuse before they were 15 years old
  • About 760,000 Canadians reported experiencing unhealthy spousal conflict, abuse or violence in the last five years.
  • In 2014, indigenous people were murdered at a rate six times higher than non-indigenous Canadians, with indigenous women being three times more likely to report spousal abuse than non-Indigenous women.
  • Every day, eight seniors are victims of family violence.

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