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Data collection and statistics on domestic violence - challenges and lessons learned Dr Henrica A. F. M. Jansen International.

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Presentation on theme: "Data collection and statistics on domestic violence - challenges and lessons learned Dr Henrica A. F. M. Jansen International."— Presentation transcript:

1 Data collection and statistics on domestic violence - challenges and lessons learned Dr Henrica A. F. M. Jansen ( International Conference Joint Approach to Family Violence: Legislation, Indicators, Enforcement May 20-21, 2009, Bishkek

2 Outline What are indicators? Why collect data and have statistics and indicators on domestic violence/VAW? Data collection: Sources of data Understanding what the data tell us: issues and biases Recommendations and lessons learned

3 What are indicators? Need to provide a simple summary of a complex picture (number, proportion, percentage, trend...) Need to present features to support informed decision making, policy and programs Need to be sensitive enough to measure change (periodicity) Need to enable comparisons between groups

4 Why use indicators? To know the magnitude of the problem and to compare between different populations To understand underlying causes and to understand effects To monitor State response and changes over time: laws developed, cases reported, persons arrested, persons referred for services, etc. To measure impact of services and interventions (are programs successful?)

5 Who are interested in indicators? Programme/Service managers People who use services Advocates for health service users – community Policy-makers International community

6 Population based surveys:  National crime victimization surveys  Demographic and reproductive health surveys  Focussed specialized surveys  Short module added to other surveys Records from police, courts, hospital, etc Sources for data on domestic violence

7 Data collected on DV/VAW in surveys Almost all surveys give indicators of prevalence. Many also on frequency Almost all on perpetrators Surveys carried out by many national statistical offices and other institutions, often as ad hoc activity Attitudes sometimes collected -- Issues around usefulness

8 Many women told me that they never talked about this with anyone, not even with the neighbors, friends or relatives, ‘because if I tell her, she might tell her husband or her mothers, and word will get around and might reach my husband, which would be terrible. If he found out he would kill me.’ (female interviewer, Nicaragua)

9 Population-based surveys to collect data on domestic violence – Challenges: Prevalence rates on violence are highly sensitive to methodological issues Research on violence raises major issues of safety and ethics Unrealistic to expect reduction in prevalence in short or medium term

10 Suggestions for measuring domestic violence in surveys Define the study population broadly Use behaviorally specific questions: specific acts Specify discrete time frames (last year, ever) Give multiple opportunities to disclose Cue respondent to different contexts and perpetrators WHO ethical guidelines for violence research

11 Population based studies are very useful for advocacy, policy development and program design: ◦ Understanding the magnitude and characteristics of violence ◦ Health burden of violence ◦ Risk and protective factors But less useful for monitoring and evaluation programs and services

12 Using criminal justice statistics for program evaluation ECLAC indicator on violence: Number of women and girls reporting sexual violence/ 100,000 Number of women and girls reporting non-fatal injuries due to domestic violence / 100,000 Source: Bodies that produce police, judicial and forensic medical statistics “A falling value for the indicator notes improvement”

13 Problems with this indicator It is not representative It is not “interpretable” It sets the bar too high

14 According to police records in Nicaragua, 3,000 women reported domestic violence in 1995 According to population based surveys 150,000 women suffered domestic violence in 1995 Service based/Criminal justice system indicators

15 Service based records are not easy to interpret… In 1997 more than 8,000 cases were reported Did rates of violence increase? During this period special police stations for women were opened throughout the country, and media campaigns carried out

16 More services and better quality of care More women reporting violence KNOW WHAT YOUR DATA TELL YOU

17 Issues in measurement and interpretation of the data collected Representativeness Gender bias Underreporting

18 Community based prevalence rates from surveys bias towards a symmetry in the rates women and men are perpetrators or victims of certain forms of domestic violence Service based statistics tend to show that men commit almost all violence and overestimate women as victims of domestic violence Gender bias

19 Domestic Violence: incidents and gender (British Crime Survey) WomenMen% against women Ratio: Women: men Victims657,000356,00035%1.8 Average number incidents per victim 2073.9 Total incidents12.9 million 2.5 million 84%5.2

20 Prevalence and incidents Prevalence use of ‘course of conduct’ might mean that a series of 20 incidents may count only as one crime, thereby underestimating the proportion of violent crime that is dv/gender-based violence Prevalence: single events count, thereby skewing the gender composition towards image of symmetry

21 Injuries and severity Injuries show better the gender differences than actions ◦ Minor force (e.g. slap): 49% women 36% men sustain physical injury ◦ Severe force (e.g. choke, weapon): 77% women 56% men sustain physical injury (UK data)

22 According to police records, 95% of child abuse victims in Nicaragua are girls According to anonymous population based surveys, 70% of child abuse victims are girls and 30% are boys Police records Example of gender bias:

23 In cases of couple violence, police often finds it easier to act against male perpetrator His arrest does not involve children Other offences also usually by males Police themselves are often males

24 Police records: issues around underreporting Reporting is very variable Also other violent crime is underreported Women feel embarrassed, ashamed, fear for more violence, economic dependence, children Correlation between degree of under- reporting and degree of intimacy degree of seriousness nature of offence (more stigma on sexual violence)

25 Lessons to take home No indicator is perfect It is important to be aware of interpretation and potential weaknesses The range of indicators to be used changes according to the purpose and context If you use of a group of indicators that reflect different aspects of VAW than you get a better idea of the bigger picture

26 Recommendations Base indicators on existing information where possible Should be action-oriented (relevant and useful for programme or case management) Disaggregation of indicators (sex, age, rural/urban, etc.) Include severity and incidents Ownership by stakeholders in countries


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