Canada’s 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 non-family 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 victim’s 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.
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 Criminal victimization incident report
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 doesn’t 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?
Physical injury by type of injury Sought medical attention, hospitalization Stay in bed/Take time off Partner’s 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 Abuse report
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.