The overall rate of domestic violence in this country remains unchanged in the latest study from Statistics Canada.

In a new report released Thursday, the agency said that seven per cent of women and six per cent of men end up abused by their current or former partners.

The numbers are based on data gathered between 1999 and 2004. They show that, since 1999, the five-year rate of spousal violence has remained unchanged at seven per cent

In terms of numbers, an estimated 653,000 women and 546,000 men "encountered some form of violence," Statistics Canada said.

The report comes out of interviews with 24,000 Canadians randomly contacted by phone.

The agency found that rates of spousal violence were highest among certain segments of the population: people between the ages of 15-24; people in relationships of three years or less; people who were separated; and people in common-law unions.

The data collected show the nature and consequences of spousal violence were more severe for women than for men.

Female victims of spousal violence were more than twice as likely to be injured as male victims.

Women were also three times more likely to fear for their life, and twice as likely to be the targets of more than 10 violent episodes.

And, overall, female victims were twice as likely as male victims to be stalked by a previous spouse. Eleven per cent of female victims and six per cent of male victims reported being stalked by a previous boyfriend or girlfriend.

Only one per cent of female victims reported being stalked by a current spouse or boyfriend.

The data touch on a painful issue for Janet Manezes. She was terrorized by her former husband and says she's dumbfounded to hear the overall rate of spousal abuse hasn't changed.

"I was so suppressed and frightened and fearful of him that there were times when my son and I would hide in the basement," she told CBC News.

Manezes spoke about how the man in question was "threatening me, throwing me out of the house with hardly any clothes on."

Still, Karen Mihorean a chief analyst for Statistics Canada, said the survey did see some encouraging news.

"I think it's good news that previous relationships are among those that we are seeing decreases in because we also know people are at greatest risk from a previous partner to experience spousal violence," she told CBC News.

Mihorean believes efforts by federal and provincial governments have helped with the decline.