An Estimation of the Economic Impact of Spousal Violence in Canada, 2009

5. Third-Party Costs (cont'd)

5.6 Negative Impact on Children Exposed to Spousal Violence

The GSS shows that children were exposed (heard, witnessed or saw the after-effects) to violence between parents in 94,631 households in 2009, accounting for 28% of all households in which spousal violence was reported. It is documented that children exposed to spousal violence are more likely than other children to develop social disorders (e.g. hyperactivity and aggressiveness), emotional disorders (mental health issues), and delinquency issues (Dauvergne and Johnson 2001). The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study in the U.S. has been following over 17,000 patientsparticipating in routine health screening since the mid 1990s and has revealed evidence of adverse health, social, and economic impacts that result from childhood trauma, including childhood exposure to spousal violence (Felitti et al. 1998; Dube et al. 2001; Chapman et al. 2004; Dube et al. 2003a; Dube et al. 2003b; Whitfield et al. 2003; Dube et al. 2002; Dube et al. 2009; Anda et al. 2007; Brown et al. 2009; Anda et al. 2004)

Bowlus and Seitz (2006) present evidence that being raised in a household where violence is present increases the probability of exhibiting physically aggressive behaviour. All of these negative effects present significant costs to children, their parents, and to society in general. Moreover, these problems often persist into the child's adulthood (for hyperactivity see Zametkin et al. 1990; for mental health issues see Harrington et al. 1990; for physical aggression see Loeber and Hay 1997) and future generations of a family can become trapped in a cycle of violence. Bowlus and Seitz (2006) find that female children who have been exposed to the abuse of their mothers by their fathers are more likely to be abused by their partners later in life, and males exposed to this behaviour often reproduce this behaviour with their future spouses.

Data limitations make it difficult to accurately estimate the number of children exposed to spousal violence. The GSS asks, “Did any of your children see or hear this incident or any of these incidents?” Tallying the “yes” answers shows that there were 94,631 households in which children were exposed to spousal violence, but there is no follow-up question asking respondents to specify the number of children in the household exposed to the violence. To estimate this, the average number of children per couple family with children (1.83), derived from Statistics Canada data,Footnote 61 is applied to the number of respondents who answered “yes” to the above question. With this method, it is estimated that 173,591 children were exposed to spousal violence in 2009.

One factor leading to possible underestimation is the potential inaccuracy of responses to the GSS question. Victims may not have been aware that their children had been exposed to the violence and inaccurately responded “no” to the question (Jaffe et al. 1990; Dauvergne and Johnson 2001). A parent's personal motives in answering the question may have led to a distortion of the truth; parents may wish to claim that their children had not been exposed to the violence even if this was not true in order to avoid negative real or perceived consequences (O'Brien et al. 1994; Dauvergne and Johnson 2001). One factor leading to possible overestimation of the estimate is the attribution of all negative impacts on children exposed to spousal violence to incidents in 2009; a child's development of a social or emotional disorder might be caused by long-term exposure to spousal violence that occurred not only in 2009.

Three of the four major types of economic impacts in this section are: medical costs, missed school days, and lost future income. Each of these impacts are estimated by analysing three specific conditions that children may develop: hyperactivity (ADD or ADHD), mental health issues (emotional disorders), and physical aggression. The fourth type of impact is delinquent acts against property and the estimation method for this type of impact is simpler than for the other three. It is important to note that some of the economic impacts will only present themselves later in the child's life, and, therefore, are subject to future changes in the economic, social, and judicial environments.

While the GSS data are used to estimate the total number of children who were exposed to spousal violence in 2009, findings from Dauvergne and Johnson (2001) are used to estimate the proportion of children who developed hyperactivity, emotional disorders, and physical aggression. Dauvergne and Johnson (2001) use data from the 1999 National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), Cycle 3 to determine how significant the contribution of witnessing spousal violence is to a child's development of a condition (hyperactivity, emotional disorder, or physical aggression) while accounting for other potentially influential factors, such as family structure, family income level, and parenting style.

The NLSCY a recurring nationwide survey that tracks many aspects of child development, and Cycle 3 is the most recent version of theNLSCYfor which the dataset is fully available. TheNLSCYquestion pertinent to this study asks children about their exposure to violence in the house and Dauvergne and Johnson (2001) use the results from this question and otherNLSCYdata regarding the previously mentioned variables to determine the contribution of witnessing violence to the development of a condition. The results of the regressions these authors perform are then converted into a useable form that indicates what percentage of children exposed to spousal violence develop each condition primarily because of the exposure to violence. For example, an estimated 3.06% of children exposed to spousal violence develop hyperactivity primarily because of the exposure; the corresponding percentages for mental health issues and physical aggression are 1.86% and 22.24%, respectively.

The proportions of children developing each condition primarily because of exposure to spousal violence are then multiplied by the total number of children exposed to spousal violence (173,591 as calculated above) to determine the number of children with each condition. Table 5.2 below presents the estimated number of children exposed to spousal violence by the condition developed and the gender of the primary victim.

Table 5.2: Number of Children Exposed to Spousal Violence by Type of Condition and Gender of Primary Victim
Gender of Primary Victim Hyperactivity Mental Health Issue Physical Aggression Delinquent Acts against Property
F 3,460 2,103 25,145 13,579
M 1,852 1,126 13,461 7,269

As explained in the Framework section, it is possible that these conditions are only manifested after multiple years of exposure to spousal violence. In such cases, the effect of the conditions on the lives of the children exposed to violence cannot be attributed solely to spousal violence incidents in 2009, because incidents in other years have also contributed to the development of the conditions. It follows that only a certain proportion of costs associated with these conditions can be reasonably attributed to spousal violence incidents in 2009. To ensure that only costs resulting from incidents in 2009 are included in this report, all costs in this section are divided by the average number of years that children are exposed to spousal violence. It is assumed that each year of exposure contributes equally to the development of these negative conditions.

Scant research exists attempting to estimate the average years of exposure, so an indirect method is used. Using a sample of 176 children, Rossman (2001) studies the effects of exposure to spousal violence on children. For each child in the sample, Rossman (2001) records the percentage of life that he or she had been exposed to parental violence, along with his or her age. By multiplying the two measures, the approximate number of years that each child had been exposed to parental violence is ascertained, and averaging across all children gives an estimate of the average length of time that children are exposed to spousal violence, which is 7 years. All estimates in this section are therefore divided by 7 in order to obtain the impact that can be reasonably attributed to spousal violence incidents solely in 2009.

5.6.1 Medical costs

Only children with hyperactivity or mental health issues are included in this section. Data of the number of children on medication, the duration of medication treatment, and the cost of medication are all required to estimate the economic impact. Any medical costs associated with the physical pain of mental health issues are not included.

As shown in Table 5.2, 5,312 children developed hyperactivity due to exposure to spousal violence in 2009. LeFever et al. (2002) find that 74% of American children with hyperactivity use medication to control symptoms. Applying this proportion to the Canadian numbers in 2009, it is estimated that 3,931 children with hyperactivity used medication as a result of exposure to spousal violence. The average medication treatment length is determined from Barbaresi et al. (2006) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Barbaresi et al. (2006) study the effects of stimulant medication on children born between 1976 and 1982 who were diagnosed with ADHD. The median treatment length in their sample of 379 children was 33.8 months, but a 1996 study reports that treatment length for children diagnosed with ADHD before pubertycommonly increased to ten years (120 months) following the increase in ADHD rates.Footnote 62 Considering these sources, medication treatment length for children exposed to spousal violence in 2009 is assumed to be five years (60 months). At a monthly medication cost of $30 per child,Footnote 63 the total medication costs for children with hyperactivity are estimated at $7,075,441.

Table 5.2 shows that 3,229 children developed a mental health issue or emotional disorder due to exposure to spousal violence in 2009. Dauvergne and Johnson (2001) find that 8.1% of parents whose children had witnessed spousal violence contacted a mental health professional about their children's physical or emotional health problems. Multiplying the number of children with a mental health issue by the proportion receiving mental health treatment, the number of children exposed to spousal violence who received mental health treatment is estimated at 261. Based on Croghan et al. (1999) and the Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia,Footnote 64 it is assumed that the average length of mental health treatment for children was 1.25 years. Children's Mental Health Ontario suggests that the mental health treatment cost per child in 2009 was $2,731.Footnote 65 Therefore, the total costs of mental health treatment for children exposed to spousal violence were $892,806.

Adding the medical costs associated with hyperactivity and mental health issues, and dividing by 7 years of exposure, the total economic impact of spousal violence in 2009 through the medical costs for children exposed to spousal violence is estimated at $1,138,321. See Appendix C for detailed calculations and sources.

Medical costs for children – SV against females $741,415
Medical costs for children – SV against males $396,906
Total Negative Impact on Children, Medical Costs $1,138,321

5.6.2 Missed school days

Only children with hyperactivity and physical aggression are included in this section. The estimatewill factor in the number of children who miss medication doses, the number of children suspended or expelled, and the length of suspensions and expulsions. Children who miss school days because of mental health issues are not considered due to data limitations, while lost education from dropping out is examined in the section on Lost Future Income.

Table 5.2 shows that 5,312 children developed hyperactivity as a result of exposure to spousal violence, and it is calculated above that 3,931 children used medication to control hyperactivity. Dick and Balch (2004)Footnote 66 find that, on average, children who take medication for hyperactivity miss one dose every two weeks, with 26% of missed doses occurring in the morning, 26% in the afternoon, and 22% at lunchtime. For simplicity, it is assumed that all missed doses occur on weekdays and that children who miss a morning dose also miss an afternoon dose. Children who miss doses may experience a lack of focus in class and, therefore, children who miss a lunch dose are assumed to miss 0.5 days of school, while those who miss both morning and afternoon doses are assumed to miss one entire day of school.

Children who exhibit hyperactive behaviour, but are not diagnosed with hyperactivity are assumed to miss the equivalent of 0.5 days of school every two weeks since the severity of their symptoms may not be as acute. Following this, 26% of children on medication (1,022 children) missed two days of school per month, 22% of children on medication (865 children) missed one day of school per month, and the remaining 1,382 children not on medication also missed one day of school per month. With an average treatment length of five years, as discussed above, a total of 193,045 school days are assumed to be missed because of missed medication doses.

Table 5.2 shows that 38,606 children developed physically aggressive behaviour as a result of exposure to spousal violence in 2009. Physical aggression can be cause for suspension and expulsion from school. Rates of suspension and expulsion vary widely across school boards. In 2007/2008, the most recent school year for which data is available, the province-wide suspension rate in Ontario was 4.54% and the expulsion rate was 0.07%. Statistics from New Zealand imply that 61.5% of all suspensions and expulsions in 2009 were mainly due to issues associated with physical aggression, including physical assault on students and staff, sexual harassment and misconduct, arson, vandalism, continual disobedience, other harmful or dangerous behaviour, verbal assault, and weapons.Footnote 67 Faris and Felmlee (2011) note that about 25% of children exhibit physically aggressive behaviour.

Together these data allow us to estimate the suspension rate and expulsion rate for physically aggressive children in 2009. The suspension rate is estimated to be 11.17% (=4.54%*61.5%/25%) and the expulsion rate is estimated to be 0.17% (=0.07%*61.5%/25%). By applying these rates to the total number of children with physical aggression, it is estimated that 5,258 children were suspended and 81 children were expelled due to physical aggression that developed after exposure to spousal violence. The average suspension length in 2009 was ten days and the average expulsion length was 90 days, so the total estimated number of lost school days due to suspension and expulsion is 49,050.

Adding the number of missed school days due to hyperactivity and physical aggression results in an estimate of 242,095 lost school days due to exposure to spousal violence. Using information from six provincial ministries of education, the daily education cost per child in 2009 is estimated at $40. After dividing by 7 years of exposure, the total economic impact of spousal violence in 2009 through lost school days of children exposed to spousal violence is estimated at $1,383,400.

Costs of missed school days for children – SV against females $901,057
Costs of missed school days for children – SV against males $482,343
Total Negative Impact on Children, Missed School Days $1,383,400

5.6.3 Lost future income

The research used in this section's estimates show that childhood social and emotional disorders can continue into adulthood and negatively affect future income levels. Children with any of the three main conditions – hyperactivity, mental health issues, or physical aggression – may not reach their full earning potential. Children may develop more than one of these conditions, but there is a limit to how much income can be lost and so the lost income of children with more than one condition may be double-counted if inadequate methods are used. Therefore, children who have multiple conditions due to exposure to spousal violence are, for the purposes of this section, counted once for having the condition that results in the greatest expected loss of income. This method eliminates the problem of double counting.

Biederman and Faraone (2006) find that hyperactivity (ADHD) in adulthood is associated with reduced earning potential equivalent to $12,214 CAD per person in 2009 dollars. The Mental Health Division of the UK Department of Health (2010) estimates the loss in annual earnings due to serious mental health issues to be equivalent to $13,564 CAD in 2009, representing 35.3% of expected earnings when no mental health issue is present. Hankivsky (2008) estimates the annual income loss of dropping out of school (high school non-completion), which is assumed to be one possible result of physically aggressive behaviour, at the equivalent of $6,558 CAD in 2009.

Children with mental health issues are counted as having mental health issues only, even though some of them also exhibit hyperactivity or physical aggression. The remaining children who have hyperactivity are counted as having hyperactivity only, regardless of whether they also exhibit physical aggression. Other children who have physical aggression only are counted as such. This method avoids the problem of double counting and at the same time ensures that children with multiple conditions will be counted as losing at least as much future income as their most serious condition entails.

Table 5.2 shows that 3,229 children developed a mental health issue after exposure to spousal violence in 2009, 8.1% (261) of whom received services from a mental health specialist. The Mental Health Division of the UK Department of Health (2010) states that 25% to 50% of adult mental health problems could have been avoided with treatment during childhood. It is therefore assumed that hyperactivity persists into adulthood for 10% of children who received treatment in childhood and for 25% of children who received no treatment, which means that 768 children will carry the mental health issues into adulthood. Kessler et al. (2008) find that serious mental disorders represent 13.2% of all mental health disorders, and it follows that 101 (=768*13.2%) children exposed to spousal violence in 2009 will have serious mental disorders that will reduce their earning potential as adults.

In addition, table 5.2 shows that 5,312 children developed hyperactivity after exposure to spousal violence in 2009. Zametkin et al. (1990) note that 40% to 60% of childhood ADHD persists into adulthood, and following this it is assumed that 50% of childhood hyperactivity persists into adulthood; therefore, 2,656 (=5,312*50%) children will experience adult ADHD due to exposure to spousal violence as children. Data from the 1999 National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) suggest that 50.2% of children with an emotional disorder also exhibit hyperactivity. As it was previously calculated that 101 children exposed to spousal violence in 2009 had a mental health issue, it is estimated that 51 of these children (=101*50.2%) also had hyperactivity due to exposure to violence. The number of children with hyperactivity who did not have an emotional disorder is then calculated to be 2,605 (=2,656-51).

Table 5.2 also shows that 38,606 children began exhibiting physically aggressive behaviour after exposure to spousal violence in 2009. Aggressive behaviour can lead to dropping out of school, as evidenced by Cairns, Cairns and Neckerman (1989), who determine that the dropout rate for American high school students with high aggression and poor academic performance (severe cases) ranges from 43% to 71%. These data support the assumption that 15% of all children with physical aggression drop out of school, which is higher than the Canadian dropout rate for all students, (9.8% in 2004/2005Footnote 68). Multiplying the dropout rate of physically aggressive students by the number of physically aggressive students results in 5,791 physically aggressive students who will drop out of school due to exposure to spousal violence.

Results from the NLSCYindicate that 41.5% of children with a mental health issue, hyperactivity, or both also exhibit physical aggression. To determine how many children exhibited physical aggression only, the number of children with a mental health issue (101) is added to the number of children who developed hyperactivity but not a mental health issue (2,605), and the result (2,706) is multiplied by the proportion of those children who also exhibited physical aggression (41.5%). The result (1,122) is subtracted from the number of physically aggressive students who will drop out of school (5,791). The final result of 4,669 is the estimated number of children who will drop out of school due to physical aggression but who did not develop hyperactivity or a mental health issue.

Table 5.3 below compares the original independent count of people with each condition and the revised count where the overlap has been removed.

Table 5.3: Number of Children and Lost Future Income by Type of Negative Impact
  Hyperactivity Emotional Disorder Physical Aggression
Independent count 2,656 101 5,791
Revised count 2,605 101 4,669
Annual income loss per person $12,214 $13,564 $6,558
Total annual income loss $31,817,470 $1,369,964 $30,619,302

Multiplying the number of estimated unique children with each condition by the corresponding estimate of lost annual income for each condition gives a lost future income of $63,806,736 per year. Assuming 25 year careers and a discount rate equal to the inflation rate, and dividing by 7 years of exposure, the total lost future income of children exposed to spousal violence is estimated at $227,881,200. Appendix C contains all sources and detailed calculations.

Lost future income of children – SV against females $148,447,357
Lost future income of children – SV against males $79,433,843
Total Negative Impact on Children, Lost Future Income $227,881,200

5.6.4 Delinquent acts against property

The number of children who committed delinquent acts against property can be found in the results of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth ( NLSCY), as a question in the NLSCY asks children directly if they had committed property offences.

Using results of the NLSCY from Dauvergne and Johnson (2001), it is estimated that 12%, or 20,848, of the 173,591 children exposed to spousal violence committed delinquent acts against property as a result of the exposure to spousal violence. Due to a lack of data, it is impossible to identify how many delinquent acts each of these children committed, so it is assumed that each child committed only one act. The value of the property damage or theft associated with incidents of delinquent acts against property is obtained from the GSS: 93% of property crimes involved damaged property, with a value of $860 per incident and 98% of property crimes involved stolen property or cash, with a value of $840 per incident. It follows that 19,393 property offences committed by children exposed to violence involved damaged property and 20,470 property offences committed by children exposed to violence involved stolen property or cash. After dividing by 7 years of exposure, the total economic impact of spousal violence in 2009 on property damaged or stolen by children exposed to spousal violence is estimated at $4,838,969.

Costs of delinquent acts against property – SV against females $3,151,769
Costs of delinquent acts against property – SV against males $1,687,200
Total Negative Impact on Children, Delinquent Acts against Property $4,838,969

5.7 Other Government Expenditures

Both the federal and provincial/territorial levels of government are active in spousal violence prevention and education, rehabilitation of spousal violence perpetrators, and assistance of spousal violence victims and children who are exposed to violence. The vast majority of both government funding for third-party service delivery and direct government expenditures on programs and policies related to spousal violence are already included elsewhere in this report, one example being the large amount of funding provided by governments for the delivery of social services, including shelters and transition homes, support centres, crisis lines, and victim services. This section therefore only includes expenditures that are not already accounted for elsewhere in the report.

Table 5.4: Select Federal, Provincial, and Territorial Action Plans/Programs
Jurisdiction Action Plan or Program
Canada Family Violence Initiative (FVI)
Newfoundland & Labrador Violence Prevention Initiative, 2006-2012
Nova Scotia Domestic Violence Prevention Committee
New Brunswick A Better World for Women: moving forward 2005-2010
Prince Edward Island Family Violence Prevention Services
Quebec
  • Action Plan on Sexual Abuse, 2008-2013
  • Domestic Violence Action Plan, 2004-2009
Ontario
  • Domestic Violence Action Plan
  • Victim/Witness Assistance Program (V/WAP
  • Partner Assault Response (PAR) Program
Manitoba Domestic Violence Prevention Program
Saskatchewan Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Program
Alberta Family Violence Prevention
British Columbia
  • Stopping the Violence
  • Relationship Violence Prevention Program
Northwest Territories Family Violence Action Plan: Phase II, 2007-2012

Table 5.4 above lists select programs or action plans sponsored by federal, provincial and territorial governments. In addition, there are government expenditures related to spousal violence that may comprise one part of a program, policy, or initiative with a broader focus, such as violence against women, or crime prevention. In most cases where spousal violence is definitely encompassed in the mandate, appropriate conservative estimates have been made to capture only expenditures related to spousal violence, but programs and initiatives where too much speculation is involved in estimating the proportion of expenditures related to spousal violence are excluded. Thus, the estimates in this section are very conservative.

Though not specific to spousal violence, a general impression of the spousal violence funding environment can be obtained from the Canadian Network of Women's Shelters and Transition Houses' 2011 report, Scan on Funding and Policy Initiatives to Respond to Violence against Women.

5.7.1 Other federal expenditures

Most of the federal funding associated with spousal violence is already accounted for elsewhere in the report. As Text Box 5.1 illustrates, federal departments are deeply involved in issues related to spousal violence, often through funding of social services such as transition homes and shelters. This section only estimates additional expenditure information not included elsewhere in the report and much federal funding related to spousal violence is impossible to ascertain as it is tied to broader budgets.

It is difficult to estimate specific federal government expenditures associated with spousal violence. The federal Family Violence Initiative (FVI) is a longstanding horizontal collaboration of various federal departments, agencies and Crown corporations led by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).Footnote 69 The mandate is to enhance awareness of spousal violence and other forms of family violence, build a knowledge base, and strengthen the ability of the justice, housing and health systems, and communities to prevent and respond to the violence. A key component of the FVI is its horizontal management structure to ensure a shared federal perspective, foster collaboration and provide opportunities for joint action. Since 2007, the FVI has provided $7 million per year in funding to eight departments and agencies. The initiative's guiding documents indicate that this $7M annual allocation serves to implement core activities and that it is also intended to supplement and boost departments' regular budgets to foster collaboration and provide opportunities for joint action to enhance the scope of federal investments and activities in this area.

Given the FVI's horizontal approach, the $7 million FVI investment was taken as a starting point to determine a more comprehensive estimate of federal government resources being used to address the issue of spousal violence. Additional information was requested and received from a number of other federal departments; the information received indicates that, in 2009, federal spousal violence expenditures included direct and cost shared amounts related to a wide variety of activities and programming directed to prevention and awareness, services, interventions, research, policy development, consultations, symposia, education and training. As previously mentioned, much of the funding could not be included in this section because it is accounted for elsewhere in the report. An example of expenditures from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development is provided in the Text Box below. In most instances, departments were not able to provide exact dollar amounts particularly where activities on spousal violence were part of more general activities (e.g. victims of crime, violence against women, crime prevention). Nor was it possible for departments to break down the amounts by gender of victim. Unless the data provided clearly indicate gender, the male/female ratio from police-reported cases in the UCR2 has been applied to break down the amounts by gender of victim.

As such, the total estimated for the federal expenditures in 2009 is $9,030,687. This figure under represents the total additional federal expenditures as not all departments and agencies are included. It should thus be viewed as a very conservative estimate.

Text Box 5.1: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AAND)

AAND does not receive funds through the Family Violence Initiative. In the fiscal year 2009/10, it invested approximately $29.8 million in family violence prevention programs and services on-reserve. In that year, the Family Violence Prevention Program (FVPP) provided operational funding for a network of 36 shelters and supported approximately 350 community-based prevention projects on-reserve.Footnote 70 These specific funds have already been accounted for in this report through The Transition Home Survey, which calculates the operational costs for all the housing options for those fleeing violence. The majority of the $29.8 million is grant and contribution funding transferred to First Nation communities, with $800,000 in O&M. There are no salary dollars under the FVPP.

Federal expenditures – spousal violence against females $7,620,897
Federal expenditures – spousal violence against males $1,409,790
Total Other Government Expenditures, Federal $9,030,687

5.7.2 Other provincial and territorial expenditures

As with the federal government, provincial and territorial governments are committed to addressing spousal violence. Many have launched action plans which set out commitments and establish frameworks for co-ordination amongst the different government ministries that play a role. Quebec's Governmental Action Plan 2004-2009 is highlighted as one example in Text Box 5.2.

Text 5.2: Quebec: Government Action Plan 2004-2009 on Domestic Violence

To update its intervention policy on domestic violence,Footnote 71 the Quebec government published the Government Action Plan 2004-2009 on Domestic ViolenceFootnote 72 (Action Plan) in December 2004. The Action Plan includes 72 actions under the responsibility of departments and agencies directly concerned with this issue. Its main purpose is to ensure the safety of victims of domestic violence and the children exposed to it.

From 2004 to 2010, the Quebec government spent over $90 million to implement the action plan, not including the budget allocated to the human resources required for its completion (police services, criminal and penal prosecutors and stakeholders in the areas of education, health and social services, detention, probation and other services). As far as major achievements go, other than in the area of prevention, of note is the increase in funding for services to victims. Furthermore, a comprehensive public awareness campaign was conducted and special focus was directed to the development of skills for professionals working in the early identification of spousal abuse.

The review of the implementation of the Action Plan, published in 2011,Footnote 73 is an excellent example of accountability with the establishment of embedded costs. The review presents achievements related to the 72 actions and provides a detailed breakdown of the government's annual expenditures for each of the achievements. Because the Quebec government understands that the fight against domestic violence requires a long-term commitment, it is currently working on the development of a new five-year action plan in this regard.

As part of their work on spousal violence, the provinces and territories have also implemented numerous programs focusing on awareness, prevention, intervention, assistance and support. These programs vary across the country in order to take into account different needs in different communities. An example from British Columbia of one such program is described in Text Box 5.3 below.

Text Box 5. 3: British Columbia : VictimLink BCFootnote 74

VictimLink BC is a toll-free, confidential, multilingual telephone service available across British Columbia and Yukon 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-563-0808. It provides information and referral services to all victims of crime and immediate crisis support to victims of family and sexual violence.

VictimLink BC provides service in more than 110 languages, including 17 North American Aboriginal languages. In 2009-2010, VictimLink BC responded to 10,218 enquiries and its budget for that year was $515,248.Footnote 75 Victim service workers can provide information and referrals to all victims of crime and crisis support to victims. All calls are confidential.

VictimLink BC staff can connect people to a network of community, social, health, justice and government resources, including victim services, transition houses, and counselling resources. They also provide information on the justice system, relevant federal and provincial legislation and programs, crime prevention, safety planning, protection order registry, and other resources as needed. In addition, VictimLink BC also provides after-hours notification on offender status for high risk victims.

Through provincial and territorial contacts, information was obtained on expenditures for the 2009 year. Limited data are also obtained from the Canadian Network of Women's Shelters and Transition Houses (2011) report where there is no double-counting with existing inclusions. It is important to note that most provincial and territorial expenditures related to spousal violence (e.g. most shelter funding, victim services and family justice services) are already accounted for elsewhere in this report, and only additional expenditures not captured elsewhere are included in this section.

As many programs address violence in general, family violence (broader than spousal violence), or sexual assault, it is, in some instances, difficult to determine the proportion of spending related to spousal violence specifically. Therefore, the proportion of violent crime involving a spousal relationship (as determined by the UCR2 survey) is used to determine the relevant costs of some programs, while some programs are excluded altogether due to the difficulty of determining the proportion of funds that should be attributed to spousal violence.

In sum, the total provincial and territorial government expenditures on spousal violence are estimated at $107,229,313. As with the federal expenditures, this total should also be viewed as very conservative.

Provincial and territorial expenditures – SV against females $88,649,352
Provincial and territorial expenditures – SV against males $18,579,961
Total Other Government Expenditures, Provincial and Territorial $107,229,313
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