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A 15-year population-based investigation of sexual assault cases across the province of Ontario, Canada, 2002–2016


Objectives — To estimate the population-level frequencies and standardized rates of sexual assault cases in the province of Ontario, Canada.

Methods — We conducted a 15-year retrospective analysis (2002–2016) of sexual assault cases by linking 5 provincial administrative health databases. We defined sexual assault by an algorithm of 23 International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, and physician billing codes. We calculated age- and sex-stratified standardized rates per 100 000 census population, and we used age- and sex-stratified Poisson regressions to determine annual rate ratios.

Results — Between 2002 and 2016, there were 52 780 incident cases of sexual assault in Ontario at a rate of 27.38 per 100 000 population. The highest rates were found among females aged 15 to 19 years (187 per 100 000) and 20 to 24 years (127 per 100 000). Among males, the highest rates were observed among children aged 0 to 4 years (41 per 100 000) and 5 to 9 years (29 per 10 000). Among males and females, the annual rate ratio increased among those aged 15 years and older and decreased among those aged 14 years and younger.

Conclusions — Sexual assault was documented across all age groups and sexes, from children to elders, with high standardized rates among adolescents and children.



Muldoon K, Smith G, Talarico R, Heimerl M, McLean C, Sampsel K, Manuel D. Am J Public Health. 2019; e1-8. Epub 2019 Jul 18.

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