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since June 19, 2001

Table of Contents for Eeva Sodhi's Web pages at Fathers for Life
Eeva Sodhi's Website (Archived)

The truth about family violence in Canada

...continued from section 1

Canadian Family Violence Statistics — Section 2

4. Child Abuse and Murder

Correctional Services of Canada 
Women Convicted of Homicide Serving a Federal Sentence, Oct. 1998

Child homicide: 

"Child homicides accounted for 14.5% of the homicides examined in this report. The victim in these situations was either the offender's own child or another child in the offender's care such as a stepchild, foster child or child that the offender was baby-sitting. Usually the child was abused several times before the abuse resulted in homicide."

Considering the fact that study after study proves that women are the main perpetrators of child abuse, it is inconceivable that children are routinely left in the care of their mothers. Not only is this contrary to the "best interest of the child" doctrine, but it also denies the necessary treatment to the mothers who may be suffering from a mental disorder and thus be in dire need of psychiatric help.

It is hard to come across current sex-specific data on the relationship of the perpetrators as, for obvious reasons, the reports are gender neutral, except in categories such as sexual assault, where men are [reported to be –ed.] the main perpetrators. Then the results are given in percentages rather than actual numbers as the numbers are minuscule.

Sexual assaults are also the only form of child abuse where the majority or perpetrators are not parents, therefore the word "men" becomes interchangeable with "fathers". [Nevertheless, the "fathers" are most often the mothers' boyfriends, common-law husbands or stepfathers of the abused children, rarely are they the natural fathers. –ed.]

The [most reliable] report in Canada for information on child abuse is the University of Toronto's "Ontario Incidence Study on Child Abuse and Neglect, 1994", OIS for short, which is the precursor to the Canada Incidence Study, now well on the way.

The Ontario Incidence Study on Child Abuse and Neglect (OIS) chapter 4: Characteristics of maltreatment, p. 67, table 4.4a gives the following statistics:

Relationship to alleged perpetrator:

  • all maltreatment, investigated cases: mother: 48%, father 32%, stepfather 11%;

  • substantiated cases: mother 49%; father 31%, stepfather: 13% 

  • Physical abuse: investigated cases: mother 44%; father 41%; stepfather 13%; 

  • substantiated cases: mother 39%; father 40%; stepfather 17%

"Most cases of substantiated physical abuse (mother 39%; father 40%; stepfather 17%) were single incidents (57 percent) ... 39 percent of substantiated neglect cases (mother 85%, father 26%, stepfather 8%) ... Cases of substantiated emotional maltreatment (mother 79%, father 55%, stepfather 20%) were almost exclusively limited to long-term situations ..."

Ontario Incidence Study on Child Abuse and Neglect (OIS) chapter 4: Characteristics of maltreatment, p. 70, 4.5 Punishment/Discipline: "Punishment or discipline related issues were involved in ... 85% of substantiated physical abuse cases. Thirty-one percent of emotional maltreatment cases also had problems relating to discipline or punishment".

sexual abuse: investigated cases: 

  • parent 4,953 (43.8%); 

  • biological mother 312 (2.8%); 

  • natural father 2,737 (24.2%); 

  • stepfather 1321 (11.7%); 

  • stepmother 70 (0.6).

Altogether all accused males comprised 90% of total investigations.

Substantiated cases: 

  • parent: 24%; 

  • natural father: 19%; 

  • biological mother 14%; 

  • Stepfather 35%; 

  • stepmother 0%; 

  • total substantiation rate: 28%.

Percentages do not add up as there can be more than one perpetrator per case and for the sake of brevity I have included only parents and stepparents, though the complete tables include all perpetrators of child abuse. Considering the relatively small number of sexual assaults by either parent, the figures in percentages can be unreasonably alarming. It would have been more realistic to give the breakdown in actual numbers, especially considering the fact that this is the only category in which non-parents are the main perpetrators of abuse.

Data from Table 2

Data from Table 2

Data from Table 2

Data from Table 2

Data from Table 2

[There is something very uncharacteristic about the distribution of the perpetrators in the cases of child sexual abuse.  Let's hope that when the myth of female innocence is abolished that we will see someone take a closer look at what is happening.  To make what is going on a little more obvious, here are all five graphs side by side for comparison. --ed.
All Cases
Physical Abuse
Child Neglect
Emotional Abuse
Sexual Abuse

Data from Table 2 (Note: Click on graph to see full-sized image.)

Editors Note:

Women perpetrators of child maltreatment are represented by the pair of bars on the extreme left in each of the five graphs shown just above .
   Women, so many researchers think, are as likely as men – if not more so – to commit child sexual abuse.  However, although we frequently become aware of the fact that women sexually abuse children, and even though common sense tells us that since they are from the same planet, communities and families as men, the graph on the extreme right of the set of five shown just above reflects that we are incapable of seeing the truth about women, namely, that women, too, are human.

Child Sexual Abuse by Women — The invisible crime

The fact that women are as, if not more, likely than men to sexually abuse children is known to any child who was abused by a woman.  It is known to any teenager or adult who can and wants to recall such abuse.
    Is it possible that the reasoning for not giving child sexual abuse by women any attention is that it is more benign, less harmful than that by men, perhaps less violent?  Well, judge for yourself.
    The preceding link will take you to an index of articles, studies, and to stories such as the following.

Summary of UK TV programme - Panorama - BBC1 - 10 pm Monday 6th October 1997

The sexual abuse of children by women was once thought to be so rare it could be ignored. 

In this programme the victims tell a different story. 


This was a vivid and horrific programme in which the victims of sexual abuse by women told disturbing stories of emotional and physical damage: 

  • Rape and attempted murder of a 12 year old boy by a 19 year old girl 

  • Rape and abuse of a 12 year old boy over a two year period by a 28 year old mother of four 

  • Rape and abuse of boys by their mother 

  • Rape and abuse of girls by their mother 

  • Women taking a lead role in pornographic violence and abuse 

  • Children abused by nuns 

  • Children abused at play group 

  • Boy abused by lesbians 

It was acknowledged that the scale and nature of these attacks had been severely underestimated and there were examples of women using excessive force with implements such as chair legs and cutlery. 

Full story

(In the US, there are an estimated 520,000 false rape allegations a year — 98.1% of all reported cases.  (Eeva Sodhi, Debunking Domestic Violence Statistics; Rape)

Table 2 (Associated Graphs)

Characteristics of Child Maltreatment – Ontario 1993

Relationship of Alleged Perpetrators to Child (n=2,283)*
(Data Source: OIS – 1994)***
  Mother  Father  Stepfather  Other 
Unknown All**
All maltreatment (Graph)              
   Investigated cases  20,870  14,181 4,624  6,594  2,260  2,164  43,717 
   Substantiated cases  5,886  3,719  1,577  2,423  726  280  12,010
Physical abuse (Graph)              
   Investigated cases  8,331  7,799  2,437  1,035  1,015  525  18,975
   Substantiated cases  1,622  1,666  713  292  270  72  4,173
Sexual abuse (Graph)              
   Investigated cases  312  2,737  1,321  5,202  728  1,408  11,307
   Substantiated cases  44  528  464  1,993  123  146  3,221
Neglect (Graph)              
   Investigated cases  11,133  3,206  996  676  527  266  13,533
   Substantiated cases  3,752  1,133  364  184  321  4,390
Emotional maltreatment (Graph)              
   Investigated cases  3,259  1,814  595  71  271  57  4,584
   Substantiated cases  741  514  192  44  155  939
*   Estimates based on a sample of 2,283 child investigations.
** Missing cases excluded
[*** Index for URLs for the PDF files of the OIS (Data source: OIS Chapter 4, p. 67, Table 4.4a; the the copy of that file that was captured by the Internet Archive can not be opened, but you may wish to try your luck by clicking on the preceding link.)]
The note following that table in the OIS report states:

The over-representation of mothers in the neglect category should be
interpreted with caution.  This figure does not take into consideration the
substantial proportion of absentee fathers.  Forty-nine percent of families
investigated for child neglect are lone-mother families.  If the absentee fathers47
in these families wen also held responsible for child neglect, the estimated
number of fathers or stepfathers/common-law partners responsible for child
neglect would climb from 1,497 to as much as 3,207.

47 Some of these missing fathers may in fact be deceased.

It makes one wonder, doesn't it?  Are the authors serious, are they joking, or do they want to bring feminism into ill repute?  They are talking about single-mother families from whom the fathers had either been ejected, or whom the fathers were never allowed to enter (it would be a difficult proposition, because many "lone mothers" have a different father for each of their children), or the fathers are deceased
    Why would anyone entertain the notion that all of these absent fathers could possibly be held responsible for the neglect of their children of whose existence they are often not even aware?  Perhaps we should go one step farther and hold all Ontario citizens responsible for the "lone-mothers'" children's neglect.

Well, the introduction provided above for the OIS report stated that it is the most reliable report available for child abuse and neglect statistics.  It didn't state that the authors were completely free of any bias or that it is the best and most objective report that could possibly be produced by anyone.


The following are miscellaneous quotes and citations providing more information about sources of family violence information.
  1. 1986, Health and Welfare Canada reports of a study by Bell finding evidence of mothers being more likely than fathers to be abusive to children.
       The perpetrator of child abuse was the mother in 38.7%, the father in 18.4% of cases.
  2. 1986, Dr. Cyril Greenland, McMaster University, analyzed 100 child abuse and neglect death in Ontario, from 1973 to 1982. 
       He found: 
  • Natural parents were the perpetrators in 63% of cases,

  • Mothers in 38%, 

  • Fathers in 13%, and 

  • Both in 12% of cases.

  1. According to child protective services in the U.S.A., of child abuse committed by natural parents between 1984 and 1987, mothers represent the following percentages of child abusers in: 
  • Virginia: 67%, 

  • New Jersey: 70%, 

  • Texas: 68%, 

  • Iowa: 64.5%, 

  • Minnesota: 62%, 

  • Alaska: 67%.

  1. Daly & Wilson 1988 report 54% of parent-child murders where the child is under 17 were committed by the mother in Canada between 1974 and 1983, for instance.
  2. The Statistical Abstract of the United States 1987 reports that of reported child maltreatment cases between 1980 and 1984 between 57.0% and 61.4% of these were perpetrated by the mother.
  3. Nagi, Saad Child Maltreatment in the United States Columbia University Press, New York, p. 47, 1977 Statistical Abstract of the United States 1987 found that 53.1% of perpetrators were female, 21% male and 22.6% both.
  4. 1969 Study by Bennie and Sclare found 7 out of 10 child abusers are female.
  5. 1968 Study by Bennie and Sclare found that 50 of 57 child abusers are female.
  6. 1984 - Walker - inter generational transmission of violence by abusive wives to their children in a study of 400 battered wives. 29% of the wives and 35% of the battering husbands had witnessed their mother inflict violence upon their father during childhood.
  7. Child maltreatment. In understanding the impact of witnessing partner violence, another fact to keep in mind is that many of these children are not just witnesses to violence, but victims themselves. Children exposed to adult partner violence are at high risk for being physically abused (Kenning, Merchant, & Tomkins, 1991). In a national sample of the population in 1985,
  • 22% of husbands who had hit their wives in the previous year had also physically abused their children, compared to 8% of husbands in other families (Straus & Smith, 1990). This figure included men whose violence against their wives had been limited to slapping, shoving and throwing things. 

  • Similarly, 23% of women who had hit their husbands had also physically abused a child in the previous year (Straus & Smith, 1990).

  1. Marshall & Rose (1988) surveyed a sample of 330 undergraduate witnesses and victims of violence in childhood using a modified version of the Conflict Tactics Scale. 
  • 40% reported that they saw their fathers hit their mothers, 

  • 40.6% reported seeing mothers hit fathers, and 

  • 76.7% received violence at the hands of their parents

  1. Reena Sommer, Ph.D., on Spousal Abuse

    Sommer, R. (1994). Male and female partner abuse: Testing a diathesis-stress model. Among the perpetrators of partner abuse, 34.8% of men and 40.1% of women reported observing their mothers hitting their fathers.

    ...the following significant predictors emerged for males: 

  1. being young in age, 

  2. non-Catholic, 

  3. perpetrating past partner abuse, 

  4. observing father hitting mother, 

  5. experiencing high stress, 

  6. the interaction between stress and past perpetrated partner abuse, and 

  7. the interaction between stress and age. 

For females, the significant predictors were: 

  1. having a high score on the EPQP, 

  2. having a high score on the Neuroticism Index, 

  3. observing mother hitting father, 

  4. not observing parents' mutual violence, 

  5. the interaction between alcohol and neuroticism, 

  6. the interaction between alcohol and observing mother hitting father, and 

  7. the interaction between alcohol and past perpetrated partner abuse. 

The Prevalence and Incidence of Perpetrated Partner Abuse

Wave 2 of this research reported that 17.3 percent of males and  27.4 percent of females perpetrated some form of partner abuse  against their intimate partners at some point during their  relationships. 

...self defence was not a motivation for perpetrating  current partner abuse for most men and women in this general population sample suggests that researchers need to rethink earlier  explanations of spousal abuse or restrict them to the clinical populations in which they were based (Dobash & Dobash, 1979, Walker,  1979). 

Exposure to violence within the family of origin.

...[the effect of] observing "mother hitting father" among females was  found to be greater than that for the main effect, observing "father hitting mother" among males.  Moreover, while the latter increased the likelihood of current perpetrated partner abuse by males by a factor of 4.569, the former increased the likelihood of the same by a factor of 12.514. 

...when males and females observe the same sex parent hitting the other parent, they are at greater risk for perpetration of partner abuse in their present relationships. 

Next (Section 3)

Posted 2000 05 04
2000 05 07 (to insert note following Table 2)
2000 12 17 (added more precise information re: source of data in Table 2)
2001 03 26 (format changes)