Rate of sexual assault in the Canadian Armed Forces rising, StatCan survey suggests

A National Defence building is seen in Ottawa on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 in Ottawa. A new report from Statistics Canada shows the problem of sexual misconduct in the military is getting worse.

A new report from Statistics Canada suggests the problem of sexual misconduct in the military is getting worse.

The survey suggests 3.5 per cent of Canadian Armed Forces personnel say they were sexually assaulted by another military member in 2022.

That is a significant increase from the 1.6 per cent reported in the same survey in 2018, and 1.7 per cent in 2016.

Statistics Canada defines sexual assault as sexual attacks, unwanted touching, and sexual activity when the victim was unable to consent.

Victims of these assaults were more likely to be women, the survey found, and they were disproportionately younger, Indigenous, members of the LGBTQ+ community or people with disabilities.

Most Armed Forces members who said they were victims of these assaults said they did not report them to authorities, in many cases because they did not think it would make a difference.

However, more than half who say they witnessed inappropriate sexual behaviour said they did intervene.

Statistics Canada says one-third of regular members of the Armed Forces completed the survey and the results were weighted to represent the entire population of regular forces.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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