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

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

Intimate partner violence: Asking the right questions?

VISION Interim Director Gene Feder collaborated with Valeria Skafida from the University of Edinburgh and Christine Barter from the University of Central Lancashire to undertake a critical analysis of UK longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional population surveys which asked about experiences of intimate partner violence and abuse (IPVA).

Seven relevant UK representative population-based surveys which asked about IPVA among adults and/or young people (16–17 years old) were identified. They critically engaged with the questionnaires to analyse the strengths and limitations of existing UK data on IPVA.

Several limitations in UK surveys were identified. Many questions still showed a bias, partly historical, towards collecting more data about physical abuse. Few surveys asked about financial abuse, abuse post-separation or through child contact, or through technologies, though improvements were under way.

Surveys still sought to count incidents of abuse, instead of enquiring about the impact of abusive behaviours on victims. Ethnicity and other demographic variables were not always adequately captured (or accessible to data users), making it difficult to explore aspects of inequality. Potentially useful comparisons within the UK were difficult to undertake given the increasingly divergent questionnaires used in different UK nations.

They discussed how future iterations of existing surveys or new surveys can improve with regards to how questions about IPVA are asked. Given that surveys across geographical contexts often suffer similar weaknesses, their findings are relevant for IPVA survey methodology beyond the UK context.

For further information please see: Asking the Right Questions? A Critical Overview of Longitudinal Survey Data on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse Among Adults and Young People in the UK | SpringerLink