Violence Against Women

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On any given day in Canada, more than 3,000 women (and their 2,500 children) are living in emergency shelters to escape violence. 

The Canadian Women's Foundation provides a comprehensive overview of statistics on violence against women at These statistics include:

  • On average, every 6 days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.  
  • Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.  
  • About 80% of sex trafficking victims in Canada are women and girls. 
  • 60% of women with a disability experience some form of violence. 
  • Immigrant women may be more vulnerable to domestic violence due to economic dependence, language barriers, and a lack of knowledge about community resources. 

It is also important to note that violence against women is taking place at an alarming rate globally. Amnesty International reports that at least one out of every three women has been beaten, forced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. The World Health Organization has reported that up to 70% of female murder victims are killed by their male partners. Compounding these statistics are the statistics on the number of children that are impacted by this violence.

The One Spark mission evolved out of looking both at statistics related to violence against women and around how economic independence and empowerment might impact these statistics. We know that women raising children in lone-parent families are almost five times more likely to be experience poverty than those in two-parent families.  When you factor the lack of affordable child care into the equation, the barriers to financial security for many women may seem overwhelming. This is why One Spark is focused on creating opportunities to generate income through self-employment and in a framework that supports independence and flexibility for women.

While these statistics tell a difficult story, we are coming to a more fulsome understanding of the factors that affect the prevalence of violence against women, and local, national, and international organizations are committed to ensuring that effective prevention initiatives and response services are in place. With awareness and action, the realities of women facing violence can change. One Spark is committed to addressing the financial barriers that may prevent women from living a life free of violence.


It is extremely difficult to comprehensively quantify the socio-economic impact of violence against women. We do know that women victims of violence are almost twice as likely as male victims to be physically injured and six times more likely to seek medical attention. In Statistics Canada's 2006 Report, "Measuring Violence Against Women", it was reported that 29% of women that experienced spousal violence took time off from their daily activities; 13% received medical attention; 10% were hospitalized; and 34% feared for their lives. It was also reported that over a 5 year period, 258,000 Canadian children were aware of spousal violence against their mother: in half of the incidents witnessed by children the woman was injured and in half of the incidents the woman feared her life was in danger. Children who grow up in families where there is intimate partner violence may suffer a range of behavioural and emotional disturbances that can be associated with the perpetration or experiencing of violence later in life. In addition, intimate partner violence has also been associated with higher rates of infant and child mortality and morbidity. (Source: World Health Organization)

The economic impact of violence against women in Canada was estimated in one study to be as high as $4.2 billion annually when criminal justice, compensation, medical costs, the costs of shelters and other services, and lost productivity were taken into account.

There are many other important impacts that are extremely difficult to measure such as the psychological effects of violence against women and the lost potential of women to have positive socio-economic impact when they are focused on issues of safety and security for themselves and their children.

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