About 99,000 Canadians were victims of family violence in 2010, with spouses accounting for almost half the abuse, a new Statistics Canada report finds.

The report was based on data from police reports and found that when it came to domestic violence:

  • 50 per cent was committed by a spouse
  • 17 per cent blamed on a parent, 14 per cent on an extended family member
  • 11 per cent on a sibling
  • 9 per cent on a child, usually a grown child

Females over the age of 15 accounted for 81 per cent of all the 48,700 victims of spousal violence. The risk of being a victim of family violence of any kind was twice as high for women, mainly from spousal abuse.

Rates of family violence in the provinces and territories followed the same pattern of overall crime, the report found: Ontario and Prince Edward Island had the lowest rates of police-reported violence, while the territories, Saskatchewan and Manitoba had the highest rates.

The report also looked at violence among couples who were dating and not married. The rate of violence among that group was higher than all other relationship categories, including friends and acquaintances.

In 2010, there were 65 homicides committed by a spouse and 24 by a dating partner.

The good news is that the rate of intimate partner homicides has been dropping for the past 20 years. In fact, rates of all kinds of family homicide have also been decreasing over the past 30 years, falling 41 per cent since 1980.

When it came to violence against children, rates of family violence were generally higher among older children and youth.

But this was not the case for homicides. Infants under the age of one and young children are most vulnerable to family homicide.

"This risk of familial homicide subsides with the child's age and increases again, though to a lesser degree, in late adolescence," the report notes.