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Intimate partner violence is a serious issue which continues to negatively affect victims long after the abuse has ended McGarry et al. This complex issue, broadly, involves physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse, between current and former partners Northcott ; Coker et al. While, presently, there are no legislated offences in the Canadian Criminal Code specifically related to intimate partner violence, Criminal Code offences of general application, such as physical and sexual assault, criminalize intimate partner violence.

There are Criminal Code provisions which consider the fact that an offender abused their intimate partner an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes Heslop et al.

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In particular, while many studies Simpson ; Calton et al. Related studies suggest that individuals in same-sex partnerships who experience intimate partner violence may face special barriers when it comes to disclosing their experiences or seeking help. Additionally, negative experiences such as discrimination and harassment, and perceptions or anticipation of stigma and negative stereotypes—all of which are particularly prevalent among individuals in same-sex partnerships—may lead to beliefs that these experiences will occur in various other facets of life Calton et al.

All these factors can reduce the reporting of violence to police and help-seeking among this share of the population. This Juristat article aims to help shed light on the nature of violence which is experienced within same-sex intimate partnerships.

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Using data from the Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, this article will examine, for the first time, the characteristics of police-reported violence among same-sex intimate partners in Canada. In order to increase the scope of analysis and allow for a more detailed examination of incident, victim and accused characteristics, data from to are pooled.

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While the focus of this article is violence among individuals in same-sex relationships, information on gender-diverse individuals is not included see Text box 1. Research has shown that people who identify as transgender or non-gender conforming are especially vulnerable to violence in general, as well as violence within an intimate partner setting Langenderfer-Magruder et al.

However, the data sources used in this article do not allow for the examination of the experiences of individuals belonging to this segment of the population.

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In this article, intimate partner violence is often abbreviated as IPV. This article defines same-sex intimate partner violence IPV as police-reported incidents of violent Criminal Code offences committed among individuals of the same sex who are in spousal, boyfriend, girlfriend, or other intimate relationships. For the purpose of this analysis, only incidents which involved one victim and one accused person are included.

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Note Similarly, for consistency, where comparisons are made to opposite-sex intimate partner violence, only incidents involving one victim and one accused person are included in the analysis. Incidents involving children under 15 years are excluded from the analysis. Analysis presented in this article is based on sex as determined by what appeared on a government issued identification or documentation of the persons involved, when available, or by the observation of the attending police officer.

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Therefore, individuals whose sex was unknown or could not be determined are excluded from the analysis. Of note, this report focuses on incidents of violence which occurred between same-sex intimate partners, regardless of whether they identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. However, references are made throughout this article to information on whether individuals identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual, as this information is the most readily available for comparison.

Of note, police-reported data collected through the UCR do not include information on whether victims or persons accused of crime identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. Spouse : includes current husband or wife through marriage or common-law, and former husband or wife, where the couple was separated or divorced at the time of the incident. Boyfriend or girlfriend: includes current or former boyfriends or girlfriends with whom there is an intimate relationship, including people who are dating and those who are living together but may not be identified as common-law.

Other intimate partner: includes a person with whom there is a sexual relationship or a mutual sexual attraction but to which none of the above relationship options apply. Each year between andmore than 2, incidents of intimate partner violence IPV involving same-sex partners were reported by police in Canada Chart 1; Table 1.

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Recent research has noted that, in some incidents of violence among same-sex partners which are reported to police, the true intimate nature of the relationship between the victim and the accused may not have been disclosed to the police. As a result, the of police-reported same-sex IPV incidents is likely an under estimation of the true magnitude of IPV among this population group.

Consistent with recent trend analysis of rates of intimate partner violence in Canada Burczycka et al. Following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada inthe Census of Population began collecting data on same-sex legally married and common-law couples in Note Note Ten years later, the census reported a total of 72, same-sex spouses in Canada, more than double the reported in Statistics Canada b. Nonetheless, according to Statistics Canada bthe proportion of same-sex couples in Canada in was in line with the proportions reported in the United Kingdom and Australia, and slightly lower than the proportion reported in the United States.

Census data indicate that people who reported being in same-sex marriages or common-law partnerships were generally younger compared to opposite-sex couples. Inthe average age for people in same-sex couples in Canada was Data presented in this text box do not reflect counts of Canadians by their sexual orientation.

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Note To estimate counts of the population by sexual orientation, other sources of data at Statistics Canada can be used. It is therefore possible that, with time and more willingness to report, counts of same-sex couples in Canada may continue to grow. It is important to note that statistics presented in this textbox are based on data collected through the census, and reflect counts of individuals who reported that they were in a couple relationship within a household—however, this does not include individuals in dating or other intimate relationships where partners are not living within the same household.

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Therefore, while this information may serve as additional context to the diversity of marital and common-law partnerships in Canada, caution should be taken when making comparisons between census data and police-reported figures on same-sex intimate partner violence presented elsewhere within the report. This in part, however, may be attributable to the fact that, in the general population, male victims are less likely than female victims to report incidents of partner violence to police Straus ; Felson et al.

Victims of police-reported intimate partner violence in same-sex relationships were often adults between the ages of 18 and The median age of female victims of same-sex IPV was 29, while for male victims it was slightly higher, with a median age of 33 years. Overall, similar to incidents involving opposite-sex partners, same-sex IPV often involved partners who were close in age.

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Note Therefore, the overall age distribution of persons accused of same-sex IPV was generally similar to the victims. The median age for accused females in same-sex IPV incidents was 29, and for males accused the median age was Overall, victims and persons accused of police-reported incidents of same-sex IPV were proportionately slightly younger than those involved in opposite-sex IPV. However, this may be reflective of the fact that in the Canadian population overall, people who report being in same-sex unions tend to be younger at least when it comes to spousal relationships, for which Census data are availableand younger people, in general, are at increased risk for violent victimization, even after taking other risk factors such as sex and history of drug or alcohol use into Perreault Note Note Note.

Note Violence among same-sex boyfriends and girlfriends was more common for females than males, while males were more likely to experience violence in other intimate relationships Chart 2. The types of violence reported among same-sex partners remained consistent between and Physical assault, the most commonly reported form of violence in general, ed for the majority of all incidents of same-sex IPV reported by police. Note This was consistent with findings of major assault being more common among male victims, especially in family-related incidents of violence Burczycka and Conroy ; Burczycka and Ibrahim Uttering threats was the second most commonly reported offence in incidents involving both female and male same-sex IPV.

When the type of violence in same-sex IPV incidents is compared with incidents involving opposite-sex partners, differences were noted.

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The types of offences involving females accused also differed between those in same-sex and those in opposite-sex partnerships, but to a lesser extent. Specifically, females accused of same-sex IPV did not commit the same types of crime as females accused of opposite-sex IPV. Information collected through the GSS on victimization is complementary to police-reported information from the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

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Information presented in this text box is based on self-reported data from the GSSand aims to shed light on the experiences of victims who may or may not have reported their experiences to police Statistics Canada According to a recent Statistics Canada report based on data from the GSS Simpsonindividuals aged 18 and over who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual were generally more likely to report experiencing violence.

Note While the sex of the perpetrator in incidents of spousal and dating violence is unknown, Note the information on spousal and dating violence presented in this text box may serve as a starting point for leading discussions on the self-reported experiences of violence among same-sex partners in Canada. Inthe GSS collected information on spousal violence from respondents who were legally married, living in a common-law relationship, or who were separated or divorced from a legal or common-law partner and had contact with this partner within the five years preceding the survey.

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In addition to spousal violence, the GSS also asked respondents about their experiences of violence in dating relationships. These involve experiences of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. The information was collected from individuals who indicated that they were not currently in a spousal relationship or have lived with their partner for less than five years.

Through a series of questions on the topic of stalking—defined as repeated and unwanted attention that causes a person to fear for their personal safety or for the safety of someone they know, and criminalized under the Criminal Code as criminal harassment—the GSS on victimization collected self-reported information from Canadians 15 years of age and older.

More thanCanadians reported experiencing some form of stalking by an intimate partner in the five years preceding the survey. Burczycka and Conroy found that lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals were overrepresented as victims of stalking in general.

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However, they found that when other risk factors for example having a history of child abuse or homelessness were taken intothe odds of stalking among this group were not different from individuals who identified as heterosexual. Overall, the use of a weapon such as a firearm or a knife was relatively uncommon in incidents of police-reported same-sex IPV. Delay in reporting same-sex IPV to the police most often involved sexual offences. An incident is considered to be cleared when a charge is laid or recommended against an accused, or when it is dealt with by other means for example through referral of the accused to a diversionary program.

Note Between andmost incidents of police-reported IPV among both same-sex and opposite-sex partners resulted in the laying or recommendation of a charge. However, clearance by charge remained consistently less common in IPV incidents involving same-sex partners than among those involving opposite-sex partners Chart 3.

Differences in the proportions of those charged or recommended for a charge by same- or opposite-sex status were in large part attributed to partners requesting that no further action be taken against the accused. However, the extent to which these factors impact decision-making among victims of same-sex IPV is not known. There are many factors which go into the decision by police to lay or recommend charges.

Among these factors are: the nature of the violent incident, the characteristics of the accused individual including their sex, and the nature of the relationship between the victim and the accused Dawson and Hotton Similar to opposite-sex incidents of IPVsexual offences among same-sex partners ed for a minority of incidents of IPV reported by police between and

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