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Manitoba among highest in Canada to experience teen dating violence


Manitoba teens are among the highest in Canada to experience dating violence according to a new report.

Statistics Canada shared new information about dating violence against teens between the ages of 15 and 17 in Canada, from 2009 to 2022. The data was compiled from a 2018 survey where information was self-reported, as well as from police reports dating back to 2009.

It found that four in 10 teens experienced some sort of violence in a relationship – emotional, physical or sexual – since they have turned 15.

Emotional abuse was the most reported in the survey – ranging in several forms from jealousy and put downs, to being told they are not good enough and being harassed on the phone or online.

One in 10 teens had experienced some form of physical violence by a dating partner and over 41,000 people between 15 and 17 were a victim of a violent crime according to police.

Teen dating violence actually declined between 2009 and 2014, but has increased since 2015.

It was also noted in 2022 that teenage girls were nine times more likely to be involved in police-reported violence in relationship, compared to boys.

Teens in rural communities were more likely to experience relationship violence compared to those living in urban centres.

Dating violence in Manitoba

In a breakdown by province, the data showed in 2022, Manitoba was second for police-reported dating violence with 574 victims per a population of 100,000.

Saskatchewan was the only province with higher numbers at 627 per 100,000.

Manitoba’s numbers showed similar information compared to the national averages. Girls were much more likely to experience relationship violence that was reported to police in all sections of the province.

The largest gap was in the rural north, where the rate of police-reported dating violence against girls was almost 4,000 victims per 100,000, compared to 143 per 100,000 for boys in 2022.

Ashley Stewart, a coordinator with the Klinic Hummingbird Program – a program that supports people impacted by sexual assault and intimate partner violence – said unfortunately, the numbers aren’t a huge surprise.

“We are seeing such high rates of violence and teen dating violence in that age group,” said Stewart. “It’s) alarming because we know the long-term impacts of that violence as well.”

She said teens need to be educated more and understand the significance of emotional and psychological abuse.

“I think sometimes some of the emotional and psychological abuse doesn't get as much attention and to make sure that folks experiencing that type of violence are also getting the resources they need. And it's also important to be able to educate teens on what that violence looks like because they might not realize that they're being impacted by that type of violence in the relationship.”

Emotional abuse can also be the jumping-off point to other forms of violence Stewart said, adding sometimes it starts with isolation and aspects of control before a situation escalates to physical or sexual abuse.

The numbers also looked at age groups over 18 as well. For 18 to 24, Manitoba’s total was 874 victims per 100,000, while 25 and older actually dropped to 337 per 100,000.

Stewart said it’s important for victims to know there are a number of resources available for all situations of violence and this isn’t something they have to go through alone.

More information can be found on Klinic’s website.

Statistics Canada notes there can be limitations to the data and results are based on a sample and there could be sampling errors.

If the survey was repeated multiple times, 19 times out of 20, the confidence interval would cover the population value.

If you're experiencing dating violence, there are several resources available. You can call the Domestic Abuse Crisis Line at 1-877-977-0007, Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 and Klinic Crisis Line at 1-888-322-3019. Top Stories

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