When a woman is sexually assaulted, the impact on her life can last for years, and the trauma can affect her education, employment, and long-term well-being. Society pays, too. In Canada, the annual costs of sexual assault and related offences for the criminal justice system, social services, and employers add up to an estimated $200 million, according to the Department of Justice.
When you include the medical costs, lost productivity, and pain and suffering of victims, the cost skyrockets to $4.8 billion. The problem is huge. In a 2009 Statistics Canada survey, 472,000 people in Canada reported they had been sexually assaulted. Supports such as counselling and legal advice help survivors re-establish a sense of safety and control over their lives, and reduce the long-term collective costs.