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Canadas National Survey

on Criminal Victimization:
Survey Content
Presented by Karen Mihorean,
Statistics Canada
UNECE-UNODC meeting on Crime
Statistics, January 2006
Vienna, Austria

Objectives of the General Social


Survey Program
To gather data on trends in Canadian
society over time.
To provide information on specific policy
issues of current or emerging interest.
Annual survey with rotating topics:
Education; social support; family; time use;
criminal victimization

Survey Content
Core content
Used to monitor long term social trends.

Focus content
Used to provide information on current or
emerging issues or social problems.

Classification
Allows one to examine how certain segments
of the population are affected by the social
trend being measured.

Survey content
Fear
Perceptions of the justice system
Precautionary measures
Criminal victimization
Spousal violence
Stalking
Hate-motivated crime

Perceptions of crime
Two general questions
Comparing crime levels in their neighbourhood to
others in their area.
Has changed in their neighbourhood.

How safe/worried you feel from crime


Walking alone in your area after dark.
Waiting for or using public transportation alone after
dark.
Home alone in the evening or at night.

Perceptions of crime
Ask how often they partake in the activity.
If they never or seldom do these activities,
they are asked:
If you felt safer from crime, would you walk
alone/use public transportation (more
often)?

Question that measures evening activities.

Perceptions of the justice system


Do you think your local police force does a good
job, an average job or a poor job of

Enforcing the laws;


Promptly responding to calls;
Being approachable and easy to talk to;
Supplying information to the public;
Ensuring the safety of citizens;
Treating people fairly;

Contact with the police

Perceptions of the justice system


Now I would like to ask you a similar question
about the Canadian Criminal courts. Are they
doing a good job, an average job or a poor job
of:

Providing justice quickly;


Helping the victim;
Determining quilt;
Ensuring a fair trial.

Perception of the sentences handed down in


court.
Contact with Canadian criminal courts.

Perceptions of the justice system


Do you think that the prison system does a good
job, an average job or a poor job of:
Supervising and controlling prisoners;
Helping prisoners become law-abiding citizens.

Do you think that the parole system does a good


job, an average job or a poor job of:
Releasing offenders who are not likely to commit
another offence;
Supervising offenders.

Protection measures used ever


and past 12 months
Have you ever done any of the following things
to protect yourself or your property from crime?
Have you ever:
changed your routine, activities, or avoided certain
places?
installed new locks or security bars?
installed burglar alarms or motion detector lights?
taken a self-defense course?
changed your phone number?
obtained a dog?
obtained a gun?
changed residence or moved?

Protection measures routinely


taken
Do you do any of the following things to make
yourself safer from crime?
carry something to defend yourself or to alert other
people?
lock the car doors for your personal safety when
alone in a car?
when alone and returning to a parked car, check the
back seat for intruders before getting into the car?
plan your route with safety in mind?
stay at home at night?

In general, how satisfied are you with your


personal safety?

Criminal victimization screening


questions
Eight types of criminal victimization measured.

Vandalism
Theft of household property
Motor vehicle/parts theft
Break and enter
Theft of personal property
Physical assault
Robbery
Sexual assault

Past 12 months
Includes incidents committed by family and nonfamily members.

Criminal victimization concepts


and definitions
Vandalism
During the past 12 months did anyone
deliberately damage or destroy any
property belonging to you or anyone in
your household, such as a window or a
fence?
Definition: Wilful damage of personal or
household property.

Criminal victimization concepts


and definitions
Robbery
During the past 12 months, did anyone
take or try to take something from you by
force or threat of force?
Definition: Theft or attempted theft in
which the perpetrator had a weapon or
there was violence or the threat of
violence against the victim.

Criminal victimization concepts


and definitions
Break and enter
During the past 12 months, did anyone
illegally break into or attempt to break into
your residence or any other building on
your property?
Definition: Illegal entry or attempted entry
into a residence or other building on the
victims property.

Criminal victimization concepts


and definitions
Household theft
Was anything of yours stolen during the
past 12 months from the things usually
kept outside your home, such as yard
furniture?
Definition: theft or attempted theft of
household property such as liquor,
bicycles, electronic equipment, tools or
appliances.

Criminal victimization concepts


and definitions
Personal property theft
Was anything of yours stolen during the past 12
months from your place of work, from school or
from a public place, such as a restaurant?
Definition: theft or attempted theft of personal
property such as money, credit cards, clothing,
jewellery, a purse or a wallet.

Criminal victimization concepts


and definitions
Motor vehicle/parts theft
Screening question on car ownership.
Did anyone steal or try to steal one of
these vehicles or a part of one of them,
such as a battery, hubcap or radio?
Definition: theft or attempted theft of a car,
truck, van, motorcycle, moped or other
vehicle or part of a motor vehicle.

Criminal victimization concepts


and definitions
Physical assaults
Now I'm going to ask you about being attacked in the
past 12 months. An attack can be anything from being
hit, slapped, pushed or grabbed, to being shot or
beaten.
Excluding acts committed by current or previous
spouses or common-law partners, were you attacked by
anyone in the past 12 months?
Did anyone threaten to hit or attack you, or threaten you
with a weapon?
Definition: An attack, a face-to-face threat of physical
harm, or an incident with a weapon present.

Criminal victimization concepts


and definitions
Sexual assaults
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?
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.
Definition: Forced sexual activity, an attempt at forced
sexual activity, or unwanted sexual touching, grabbing,
kissing, or fondling.

Criminal victimization incident


report
Location of incident
Workplace improved

Weapon
How assaulted
How threatened
Injury
Medical attention
Take time off
Alcohol/Drug related
Number of offenders

Sex & age of offender


Relationship to offender
Hate motivated
Anything stolen/damaged
Compensation
Difficulty carrying out
activities
Police why/why not
Formal/informal supports
Victim-offender mediation
How affected

Spousal violence
Since 1999 part of the core content.
Emotional and financial abuse:

Limits contact with family and friends;


Puts you down or calls you names to make you feel bad;
Jealous and doesnt want you to talk to other men/women;
Harms, or threatens to harm, someone close to you;
Demands to know who you are with and where you are at all
times.
Damages or destroys your possessions or property;
Prevents you from knowing about or having access to family
income, even when you ask.

Spousal violence
During the past 5 years has your current/previous
spouse/partner
Threatened to hit you with his/her fist or anything else that could
have hurt you?
Thrown anything at you that could have hurt you?
Pushed, grabbed, or shoved you in a way that could have hurt
you?
Slapped you?
Kicked you, bit you, or hit you with his/her fist?
Hit you with something that could have hurt you?
Beaten you?
Choked you?
Used or threatened to use a gun or knife on you?
Forced you into any unwanted sexual activity , by threatening
you, holding you down, or hurting you in some way?

Abuse report
Physical injury by type of
injury
Sought medical attention,
hospitalization
Stay in bed/Take time off
Partners alcohol use
Anyone else harmed or
threatened, including kids
Children witnessed
violence
Fear for life

Compensation
Police intervention - why
reported or not,
satisfaction with actions
Restraining orders
Use of informal and
formal supports (reason
not used)
Victim-offender mediation
Emotional impact of
violence

Stalking
Phoned you repeatedly or made silent or obscene
phone calls?
Followed you or spied on you?
Waited outside your home?
Waited outside your place of work or school or other
places you were, when they had no business being
there?
Sent you unwanted e-mail messages?
Sent you unwanted gifts, letters, or cards?
Persistently asked you for a date and refused to take no
for an answer?
Tried to communicate with you against your will in any
other way?
Did you fear for your safety or the safety of someone
known to you?

Stalking continued
Has anyone attempted to intimidate or threaten
you by threatening or intimidating someone
else?
Has anyone attempted to intimidate or threaten
you by hurting your pet(s) or damaging your
property?
Details
Length, physical attack, sex of perpetrator,
relationship to victim, changed behavior, fear,
support, police contact (why/why not),
restraining orders, satisfaction with justice
system.

Conclusion
Since 1988 the GSS on Victimization has
undergone major transformation.
Improving existing measures.
Adding new survey content.

80% response rate.


Data widely disseminated through a number of
reports.
Gaps
Fraud
Frequency of the survey.