What is gender-based violence?

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What is gender-based violence?

Everyone has the right to live free from violence. However, many Canadians across the country continue to face violence every day because of their gender, gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender. This is referred to as gender-based violence (GBV) and is a violation of human rights.

If you look closely, you will see the roots of GBV all around you, in media messages that objectify women, in the jokes that demean LGBTQ2 (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two-Spirit) people and in the rigid gender norms imposed on young children

Who is affected by gender-based violence?

The intersection of any two or more of the above mentioned characteristics may increase a person’s risk and vulnerability to violence. In other words, people who have more than one of these characteristics, such as being a young woman living with a disability, may be even at a higher risk of GBV.

Qualitative research shows that other groups experience high levels of GBV as well, including:

Statistics and qualitative research reports do not tell the whole story. All communities and people are resilient and are engaged in preventing and addressing GBV.

The negative effects of GBV reach far beyond the individuals who directly experience them. Violence can have long-lasting and negative health, social and economic effects that span generations, which can lead to cycles of violence and abuse within families and sometimes whole communities. GBV holds us all back.

GBV is not limited to physical violence and can include any word, action, or attempt to degrade, control, humiliate, intimidate, coerce, deprive, threaten, or harm another person. GBV can take many forms including cyber, physical, sexual, societal, psychological, emotional, and economic. Neglect, discrimination, and harassment can also be forms of GBV.

Key statistics on gender-based violence in Canada

Key statistics on gender-based violence in Canada: by populations


Access a clickable chronology with links on federal and international strategies, policies and milestones that have contributed to preventing and addressing gender-based violence (GBV).


Consult the glossary to obtain examples, definitions and concepts related to gender-based violence.

Fact sheets

These fact sheets present key statistics and information.

Intimate partner violence

Family violence

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