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Criminology hindered by lack of longitudinal data to study consequences of victimisation

VISION researchers Dr Vanessa Gash and Dr Niels Blom write in their latest publication, Measures of Violence within the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Survey and the Crime Survey for England and Wales: An Empirical Assessment, that the field of criminology has been hampered by a lack of longitudinal data to examine the consequences of victimisation.

However, recently, ‘Understanding Society’, the United Kingdom Household Panel Survey (UKHLS), began fielding a small battery of questions relating to violence experience. Here, we examined the strengths and weaknesses of these UKHLS measures with similar indices from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), a widely used and regarded but cross-sectional survey.

Vanessa and Niels empirically assessed the extent to which the UKHLS variables are comparable with those in the CSEW to determine the viability of the UKHLS for the longitudinal study of (fear of) violence and its consequences.

Overall, they regarded the UKHLS to provide an important resource for future panel research on the consequences of victimisation. They found the indicators measuring physical assault to be similar in both sets of data, but also noted differences in prevalence and/or different distributions by socioeconomic group for the indices relating to being threatened and of feeling unsafe.

Nonetheless, Vanessa and Niels maintain their utility for researchers in this field, allowing researchers to uncover new inequalities in violence exposure.

For further information please see: Measures of Violence within the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Survey and the Crime Survey for England and Wales: An Empirical Assessment

Or contact Dr Vanessa Gash at vanessa.gash.1@city.ac.uk

Illustration by People Images – AI on Adobe Stock (licensed)

Measuring violence using administrative data collected by specialist domestic and sexual violence and abuse support services

Interpersonal violence, which can include various forms of domestic and sexual violence and abuse (DSVA) is a leading cause of death, particularly among young adults. In the UK, specialist DSVA services provide much-needed support to victim-survivors of these types of violence, and some provide support for perpetrators to change their behaviour. To monitor and support their work, specialist services collect data on violence. This data has the potential to improve understanding of violence but presents unique challenges.

In this review, VISION researchers Dr Annie Bunce, Dr Sophie Carlisle and Dr Estela Capelas Barbosa describe and discuss some of the key challenges facing the data collected by specialist services.

Inconsistencies in data collection arise due to the differing remits and priorities of specialist services, which mean violence and abuse are defined and measured in slightly different ways by these organisations. Particularly, the review highlights the significant variation in outcomes and outcome measurement tools used to evidence the effectiveness of services and interventions.

Specialist support services collect valuable data on many and multiple types of violence, the wide impacts of violence on victim-survivors’ lives, and information about perpetrators. As the data are not collected for research purposes, a considerable amount of work is often required to make the data suitable for statistical analysis. Critically, the piecemeal and insecure funding of specialist services limits their capacity to collect and analyse data.

Together these issues make it challenging to collate data from specialist services and use it to inform measurements of violence. 

The researchers recommend the development of a core outcomes framework, exploration of methods for linking specialist services data with other sources of administrative data on violence, and sustainable funding for third sector specialist support services.

For further information please see: Social Sciences | Free Full-Text | The Concept and Measurement of Interpersonal Violence in Specialist Services Data: Inconsistencies, Outcomes and the Challenges of Synthesising Evidence (mdpi.com)

Or contact Dr Annie Bunce at annie.bunce@city.ac.uk

Photograph by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash