According to the Justice Department, domestic violence is referred to as family violence in Canada.While there is no specific offence in the Criminal Code addressing family violence, many different provisions are in place for this purpose. The offences associated with the use of physical and sexual violence relating to family violence include: assault (causing bodily harm, with a weapon and aggravated assault); kidnapping and forcible confinement; homicide (murder, attempted murder, infanticide and manslaughter);and sexual assault. Offences related to some forms of psychological or emotional abuse within the family involve using words or actions to control, isolate, intimidate or dehumanise someone such as: harassment,uttering threats, and making indecent and harassing phone calls. Finally, economic violence is also taken into account under the provisions relating to theft, misappropriation of money held under direction, extortion,etc.
While the legislation defines domestic violence with gender-neutral language, assuming that females can too be perpetrators, the data shows that it is an issue affecting predominantly women. Female victims of domestic violence were twice as likely as male victims to be physically injured, three times as likely to experience disruptions to their daily lives, and almost seven times as likely to fear for their life. 
Moreover, in 2011, intimate partners, including spouses and dating partners, were the most common perpetrators in violent crimes against women. Partners represented 45% of all those accused of violence against women, followed by acquaintances or friends (27%), strangers (16%) and non-spousal family members (12%).
In addition, 62% of female victims of non-spousal violence knew their assailant.
In 2011, there were roughly 78,000 female victims of intimate partner violence. 
Certain types of spousal violence were more likely to come to the attention of police, including incidents where the woman was sexually assaulted (53%) or beaten, choked or had a weapon used against her (60%).
According to the Transition Home Survey (THS), there were 4,645 women residing in shelters across Canada in April 2010, most of whom were escaping abuse (71%).
In May 2012 the White Ribbon Campaign conducted an Ontario-wide survey on men’s attitudes and behaviours towards violence against women, aiming to understand male attitudes in order to inform, shape, and influence future initiatives and to serve as a baseline against which changes can be monitored over time. The survey revealed that men recognise the universality of violence against women and most agree that domestic violence is a public issue. Moreover, 96% agree that domestic violence can happen in any family, regardless of cultural background or economic situation, and 79% disagree that domestic violence is a private matter to be handled in the family. However, the impact of emotional, social and psychological forms of violence against women are not always well understood by men in Ontario, and most feel a woman could leave a violent relationship if she really wanted to.
The Involved Father and Gender Equity project is a collaborative action plan between the White Ribbon Campaign and Dad Central. The study explores the positive roles that fathers, organisations working with diverse fathers, and the fatherhood sector in Ontario in general can play in promoting gender equality and healthy and equal relationships, as well as in ending violence against women in all its forms.
Fathers in this study indicate that their involvement with their children promotes gender equality in many ways. Fathers are role modelling gender equality with their children and understand the importance of having conversations about equality with their children. Fathers in this study also suggest that a change is occurring in relationships, where equality is more present within their relationships than ever before.
is criminalised under several different provisions of the Criminal Code. Sexual assault is punished by less than 10 years of imprisonment, and at least one year when the victim is younger than 16.
The crime is aggravated by the use of a dangerous weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm.
The use of stupefying drugs to commit rape is punished as well.
Marital rape is taken into account in the Criminal Code.
Action plans against sexual assault are executed at the provincial level. For instance, the Women’s Directorate in Ontario put in place the 2011 Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan, which continues to exist at the moment. This plan includes programmes, such as the Promoting Healthy Equal Relationships campaign targeted youth and the adults who influence them.
Moreover, the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres and Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes
receive financial support from the government in order to develop and deliver specialised training programmes for sexual assault centre staff on supporting women with addictions, mental illness and trauma. These organisations are charged with producing and distributing educational materials for community service agencies on best practices in prevention and supporting survivors coping with trauma.
Overall, women and men tend to be victims of similar violent offences, for instance assault, harassment, etc. However, women are 11 times more likely than men to be victims of a sexual offence, while men are more likely to be robbed.
According to Statistics Canada, the high level of under-reporting of sexual assault suggests that the prevalence of police-reported sexual assaults may be an underestimation of the true extent of this issue. Based on 2009 police-reported administrative data, there were over 15,500 victims of sexual offences aged 15 years and older. According to these data, the rate of sexual assaults against women increased from 2009 to 2010 and remained unchanged in 2011.
In 2011, women knew their sexual attacker in three-quarters of incidents: 45% as a casual acquaintance or friend, 17% as an intimate partner and 13% as a non-spousal family member and one-quarter of sexual assaults against women were committed by a stranger.
The Ontario-based survey led by the White Ribbon Campaign in May 2012 revealed that Ontario men do not believe women are to blame for rape and sexual assault. 78% of the surveyed men disagree that women often say “no” when they mean “yes“; 86% disagree with the statement “when women talk and act sexy, they are inviting rape”; 89% disagree that if a woman wears provocative clothing, she is putting herself at risk for rape; and 96% feel it is important that a woman be as happy as a man in a sexual relationship.
is addressed by several different bodies of Canadian legislation: the Labour Code, the Canadian Human Rights Act (1985), the Criminal Code, and regional and provincial human rights legislation. The Labour Code defines sexual harassment as any conduct, comment, gesture or contact of a sexual nature that is likely to cause offence or humiliation to any employee or that might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived by that employee as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment or on any opportunity for training or promotion.
Employees are guaranteed the right to a harassment-free working environment,
and employers are compelled to make every reasonable effort to ensure that no employee is subjected to sexual harassment and to issue a policy statement concerning sexual harassment.
Harassment is also addressed in the Criminal Code, but in a much broader sense than just sexual harassment, that is, including stalking, criminal harassment and cyberbullying.
Human rights legislation constitutes another mechanism through which sexual harassment may be addressed. For instance, the Canadian Human Rights Act (1985) bans sexual harassment.
Since the 1980s, sexual harassment victims have been able to move forward with their cases by relying on human rights legislation, in addition to the Labour Code provisions. In the case of Janzen versus Platy Enterprises Ltd (1989), it was established that sexual harassment was a form of sexual discrimination banned by the human rights statutes in all jurisdictions in Canada, such as the Human Rights Act of Manitoba.
The legislation does not clearly specify what the penalties are.
According to the police, in 2011 there were 11,700 female victims of harassment.
It has been reported that, in practice, sexual harassment victims that rely on human rights legislation face an overburdened judicial system, undergo a long litigation process and settle for a meagre compensation.
There is no evidence that female genital mutilation is practised.
There are no restrictions to access to an abortion
at the federal level in Canada. In 1988, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that restrictions on the right to an abortion were unconstitutional.
have a higher likelihood of being victimised compared to the rest of the female population. The rate of violence against aboriginal women was 2.5 times higher than the rate for non-Aboriginal women (279 versus 106 per 1,000). Between 2001 and 2011, at least 8% of all murdered women aged 15 years and older were Aboriginal, double their representation in the Canadian population (4%). There are significant difficulties in measuring this type of violence. For instance, in half of all homicides, the Aboriginal identity of the homicide victims was unknown.
Canada has adopted a definition of gender-based violence
following the more inclusive definition adopted by the United Nations in the 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. Hence, it is defined as any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.
Some of the recent legal reforms aimed at reinforcing the criminal justice mechanisms to protect women from violence are an increase in the penalties for violent crimes, improving the devices for helping victims, ending the use of conditional sentences and house arrests for specific offences including those involving serious personal injury, and raising the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16 years. In addition, a bill has been proposed to protect victims from cyberbullying.
Furthermore, studies are regularly conducted on violence against women, for example the 2009 study by the Department of Justice aimed at estimating the economic impact of spousal violence in Canada.
The 6 December is Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, or White Ribbon Day. It commemorates the 1989 killing of 14 female students in Montreal, which was motivated by the male perpetrator’s general hatred of women.
Data about gender-based violence collected by the Canadian statistical services not only includes administrative data using police reports but, in an effort to include information about unreported violence, also includes self-reported data collected in the General Social Survey (GSS) every five years since 1988.
According to administrative data, about 173,600 women aged 15 years and older were victims of violent crime in 2011, almost 0.5% of the total population for that year. This translates into a rate of 1,207 female victims for every 100,000 women in the population, slightly higher than the rate for men (1,151). Men were responsible for 83% of police-reported violence committed against women. This contrasts with violent crimes against men, where intimate partners were among the least common perpetrators (12%).
Moreover, women were found to be less likely than men to feel safe in a variety of situations, including walking alone at night in their neighbourhoods (85% versus 95%), being home alone in the evening (76% versus 90%), and using or waiting for public transportation alone after dark (42% versus 73%).
 Department of Justice website, http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/fv-vf/laws-lois.html (accessed 08/04/2014)  Articles 265-268 of the Criminal Code  Articles 279  Articles 229-231 and 235  Articles 271-273  Article 264  Article 264.1  Article 372  Articles 322, 328-330, 334  Article 332  Articles 346  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013),p. 9  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013),p. 14  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013),p. 18  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013),p. 18  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013),p. 10  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013), p. 10  White Ribbon Canada website, http://whiteribbon.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/menssurveytakeaway.pdf (accessed 01/04/2014)  White Ribbon Canada, http://www.whiteribbon.ca/give-love-get-love/ (accessed 01/04/2014)  White Ribbon Canada, http://www.whiteribbon.ca/pdfs/fatherhood_report.pdf (accessed 05/05/2014)  Criminal Code Article 270  Article 271  Article 490, paragraph 212 (1)(i)  Articles 271-273  Ontario’s Women’s Directorate (2011), p. 8  Ontario’s Women’s Directorate (2011), p. 12  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013),p. 11  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013), p. 29  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013), p. 30  White Ribbon Canada website, ttp://whiteribbon.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/menssurveytakeaway.pdf (accessed 01/04/2014)  Labour Code, Article 247.1  Labour Code, Article 247.2  Labour Code, Article 247.3 and 247.4  Criminal Code Article 206  Article 14 and 14.2  Aeberhard-Hodges (1996)  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013), p. 32  Benedet (2001)  United Nations, http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/abortion/doc/ (accessed 06/05/2014)  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013),p. 19  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013), p. 4  Canadian government Status of Women website, http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/violence/efforts/measures-renforcement-eng.html (accessed 01/04/2014)  Department of Justice website, http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/cj-jp/fv-vf/rr12_7/rr12_7.pdf (accessed 01/04/2014)  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013), p. 13  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013), p. 5  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013), p. 8  Statistics Canada and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (2013), p. 76