Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic August 08, 2014 - 5:56 am

Statistics Canada begins crime victimization survey in Nunavut, other territories

Surveyors will contact participants by telephone or in face-to-face interviews

THOMAS ROHNER
This Statistics Canada chart is from the agency's 2010 report on police-reported crime statistics in Canada. The territories rank in the top three for both categories.
This Statistics Canada chart is from the agency's 2010 report on police-reported crime statistics in Canada. The territories rank in the top three for both categories.

Selected residents from Nunavut and the other two territories will soon hear from Statistics Canada interviewers who want to ask about their experiences as victims of crime.

For this survey, interviewers will ask participants if they’ve been a victim of personal or property crime within the past year, what their perception of the justice system is, and how safe they feel in their communities, a news release from the RCMP said.

The survey, which is being conducted both by telephone and face-to-face interviews to measure the extent of crime victimization in northern Canada, has already begun and will continue until the end of the year.

StatsCan’s Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division carried out a similar survey in 2009 and then released the results in 2012. The same division will conduct this survey.

The confidentiality of survey participants is guaranteed by law, StatsCan spokesperson Julie Sauvé said, in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

“Statistics Canada does not release any information that identifies an individual or group without prior consent,” Sauvé said, adding that officials conducting the survey swear an oath not to divulge confidential information.

Participants will have the option of answering questions in French or English. StatsCan will not use Inuktitut-English interpreters to assist with the interviews.

“By looking at the 2009 results, six per cent of the sample in Nunavut were not able to participate… due to a language barrier,” Sauvé said.

The survey — part of the General Social Survey on Canadians’ Safety — is conducted every five years and is the only national survey of self-reported victimization, Sauvé said.

“As not all crimes are reported to the police, the survey provides an important complement to officially recorded crime rates,” she said.

All levels of government will have access to the results, she said, as will social service agencies and researchers studying Canadians’ perceptions of crime and the justice system.

The results will be used to develop and monitor policies and programs for victim services, police resourcing, and to develop public awareness programs, she said.

Fourteen communities will be surveyed in Nunavut this year, four more than when the previous survey was conducted.

The 2009 survey found nearly half — 46 per cent — of self-reported crimes in the territories were violent, whereas the vast majority of self-reported crimes in the provinces — 70 per cent — were non-violent.

The 2009 survey also found most residents are satisfied with the level of personal safety in their communities, although aboriginal people were more likely to be dissatisfied with local police services.

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