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High rates of violence seen among Natives in Canada

About 40 percent of Native people in Canada have been the victims of violent crime, and nearly 25 percent of Native women have suffered domestic violence, Statistics Canada reported on Tuesday.

Native people were more than three times as likely to be victims of violence than non-Natives. The rate was 319 per 1,000 for Natives compared to 101 per 1,000 for non-Natives.

Native people were more likely to know their perpetrator, according to the data. More than half, or 56 percent, were victimized by a relative, friend, neighbor or acquaintance, compared to 41 percent for non-Natives.

Domestic violence was also far more common among Native people than non-Natives. According to the data, 24 percent of Native women and 18 percent of Native men were victims of intimate partner violence, compared to just 6 percent of the non-Native population.

Crimes on reserves far outpace the rest of the nation, Statistics Canada said. The on-reserve crime rate was a whopping 28,900 per 100,000 compared to 8,500 per 100,000 elsewhere.

"According to the 2004 General Social Survey approximately 40 percent of Aboriginal people aged 15 years and over reported having been victimized at least once in the 12 months preceding the survey," the report stated.

Despite the high rates, they do not come as a surprise. In 1999, when the last report of violence among Native people was released, Statistics Canada saw similar results.

The data also mirrors rates seen in the United States. According to the Department of Justice, American Indians and Alaska Natives are more likely to be the victims of violent crime, particularly domestic violence, than other Americans.

According to the report, several social factors contribute to the high incidence of crime. They include the large number of Native youth, low income families, single parent homes, overcrowded homes. Unemployment is high and educational levels are low, the report noted.

Disparate treatment of Native people in the justice system could also be a factor. Between 1997 and 2000, Natives were 10 times more likely to be accused of homicide than non-Natives, according to the data.

Overall, fewer people in Canada were sent to jail or prison in the last decade. But Native youth and adults are far overrepresented in the prison population than their counterparts, the report said.

Of all youths admitted into custody, for example, 20 percent were Native, Statistics Canada reported. Native youth make up just 5 percent of the overall population of young Canadians.

Even though high rates of violence were seen among Natives, many said they weren't afraid of crime. When asked how they felt about safety, in general, 47 percent of Natives and 44 percent of non-Natives reported they were "very satisfied," according to the survey results.

Get the Report:
Summary: Aboriginal people as victims and offenders | Full Report: Victimization and offending among the Aboriginal population in Canada

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