Family violence increases risk for many conditions, Dr. Gregory Taylor tells Canadians, CBC


More than 230 Canadians a day are victims of family violence that are reported to police, Canada’s chief public health officer says in releasing a new report on a seldom discussed issue.

Dr. Gregory Taylor’s 2016 report on the state of public health focuses on family violence, including sexual, emotional, and financial abuse, as well as neglect.

Taylor calls the statistics staggering:

  • 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 every10 reported cases.
  • Every four days a woman is killed by a family member.
  • Population surveys tell us that a third of Canadians, that is 9 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 nonindigenous women.

Every day, eight seniors are victims of family violence

“Family violence impacts health beyond just immediate physical injury, and increases the risk for a number of conditions, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as high blood pressure, cancer and heart disease,” Taylor wrote.

Despite the work of researchers of health care professionals and communities, why family violence happens or the best ways to intervene still aren’t well understood, he said.

“This report sheds light on a topic that can be hard to talk about. Family violence often remains hidden. Working together, we can unravel why, when, where, how, and to whom family violence happens and improve our efforts to support healthy Canadian families.”

Everyone has a responsibility to stop violence, he said, such as by changing beliefs and attitudes and creating safe and supportive communities.

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