All Canadians have the right to live free from violence. Gender-based violence—defined as violence that is committed against someone based on their gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender Women and Gender Equality Canada —can have serious long-term physical, economic and emotional consequences for victims, their families, and for society more broadly. Measuring gender-based violence is complex. The victims—and even the perpetrators—may not themselves perceive the motivations for the incident as being rooted in social structures and systems, which can serve to produce and reproduce gender inequality and gendered violence across many dimensions. Because of this, asking about gender-based violence directly in a survey may not lead to accurate findings or conclusions. Instead, asking about all experiences of violence and using contextual information—such as the gender of the victim and the perpetrator, the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, and the nature and impact of the incident—allows for an examination of violence where the gender-based nature of an incident and the broader systemic factors underpinning these acts can be considered. Using this general approach, decades of research and data collection in Canada show that women and girls are at higher risk of certain types of violence—and in many cases, other characteristics intersect with gender to impact the likelihood of experiencing violence. Gender-based violence comprises a wide range of behaviours, some of which are not defined as criminal under Canadian law Benoit et al.
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