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Inference of Unreported Intimate Partner Violence in the Yukon

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A recent project by David Gatensby of the YukonU and YSWC involved analyses of available Statistics Canada GBV data as they apply to the Yukon Territory.

One of the aims of the project is to determine the accuracy and limitations of the data being used to generate intimate partner violence (IPV) statistics in the Yukon. Based on this analysis, only 4% of people report experiences of IPV in the Yukon.



In 2019, 338 incidents of intimate partner violence were reported to RCMP in the Yukon, as indicated in the 2019 Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

However, according to Statistics Canada's Women’s experiences of victimization in Canada’s remote communities, women in remote areas reported only 14% of IPV and 36% of non-IPV incidents to RCMP. Women in accessible (ie. not remote) areas reported only 4% of IPV incidents and 10% of non-IPV incidents to RCMP.

David took the total number of RCMP-reported incidents of IPV in the Yukon in a given year, combined this with the data provided in the Statistics Canada's Women’s experiences of victimization in Canada’s remote communities. From there, he was able to demonstrate that a mere 4% of IPV incidents are reported to RCMP in the Yukon. 

Why is GBV Even

Less Reported in RRNs?

  • GBV is underreported everywhere, but more so in the north. This is understood to be due in part to:

    • High rates of sexual assault case attrition. Victims are less likely to be believed if they formally report sexualized violence which degrades the collective confidence in the criminal legal system; 

    • High proportion of Indigenous to non-Indigenous peoples coupled with the recency of colonization. There is (an appropriate) mistrust of colonial institutions like the RCMP and settler governments;

    • High rates of RCMP turnover in smaller community detachments which compromises relationship building between RCMP officers and community members, which in turn diminishes likelihood that GBV will be reported;

    • Normalization of GBV. Lack of community-level consent literacy and attitudes of acceptance towards GBV; 

    • High rates of drug and alcohol use. Those who experience GBV while using drugs and/or alcohol are less likely to formally report GBV out of a fear of being criminalized, having their children apprehended or having their credibility questioned;

    • Lack of affordable housing. The housing crisis in the Yukon forces those experiencing IPV to choose between staying with an abuser to secure shelter or losing their housing if they formally report the IPV.  


  • Lack of frontline GBV response infrastructure and capacity. There are no Sexual Assault Centres (SACs) in the Territories. Women’s shelters often provide some of the services a SAC would. For example, only 3 of Yukon’s 8 distinct towns and the capital city, Whitehorse, have a women’s shelter. LGBTQ2S+ specific GBV response infrastructure is also lacking. Whitehorse opened a pride centre this year (2023), however, none of the communities have a pride centre. Taken together, there are few spaces for folks to informally report GBV, and many of these organizations do not have funding or capacity to support the development of data acquisition related to informal reports of GBV. 


  • Privacy and confidentiality constraints. Communities in the North are small so privacy and confidentiality constraints result in a lack of disaggregated data (eg. it is often impossible to report both the gender and ethnicity of a victim without identifying who they are). Furthermore, people in small Northern communities often risk being socially ostracized if friends and family of the perpetrator discover that the victim reported.

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