Saskatchewan has the highest rate of police-reported domestic violence of all provinces, a Statistics Canada report says.
According to Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile, 2011, which was released on Tuesday, the rate of family violence per 100,000 people was 583 in 2011 — more than double the rate for all of Canada. The lowest rate was Ontario's — 190 per 100,000.
StatsCan says there were a total of 6,043 police-reported incidents in Saskatchewan that year.
Saskatchewan's per capita rate of 583 was also considerably higher than either of its neighbouring provinces. In Manitoba, the rate was 402 per 100,000, while in Alberta, the corresponding figure was 310.
However, all the provincial numbers are below the rates recorded in the three territories. In Nunavut, for example, the rate in 2011 was 3,294 per 100,000.
The report also looks at police-reported family violence in cities and found that Saskatoon came in third highest, following St. John, N.B. and Gatineau, Que.
Sharon Cunningham, the executive director of Saskatoon's Interval House shelter and Adelle House, says that several factors explain the situation in Saskatoon.
She notes that the high rate of gang activity is one factor — a number of victims who come to the shelter are the girlfriends of gang members.
Growth and diversification in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan's largest city, are also a factor.
The city is in the middle of an immigration boom and Cunningham said that for the past three years, she's noticed that the shelter receives more and more women who are neither white nor native.
"These are people that never used to come forward before, they did it internally," she said. "They are now seeking services."
Cunningham said she believes that these women realize that they do not need to live in an environment that is not safe and they're asking for help.