Historical child sexual abuse cases reported to the police by Indigenous adults in a northern Canadian territory: an exploration of factors affecting the likelihood of charges and convictions

Catherine Louise Chenier*, Andie Shawyer, Andy Williams, Rebecca Milne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current research examined historical child sexual abuse files from a northern Canadian police force, looking at factors pertaining to the offence, the complainant, and the suspect, in an area with a large Indigenous population. The dataset analysed represented all reported cases (N = 229) of historical child sexual abuse by Indigenous complainants in the database of the participating force from 2005-2019. Analysis of all cases showed charges were more likely in cases with multiple complainants, female complainants, and for those cases where complainants were 11-14 years old at the time of the abuse. For cases where charges were laid (n = 135), convictions were slightly more likely in cases with less serious offences. For trial cases (n = 75), multiple complainants, the relationship of suspect to complainant, age of suspect, and age difference between complainant and suspect were significantly associated to trial outcome. Ethnicity of suspects showed no relationship to whether charges were laid, or convictions either overall or at trial.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Sexual Aggression
Early online date26 Mar 2024
Publication statusEarly online - 26 Mar 2024


  • child victims
  • criminal justice
  • Indigenous
  • Canada
  • sexual abuse
  • historical abuse

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