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Last edited: December 20, 2011

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Reliable and regular data collection is a prerequisite for the prevention of gender-based violence, and for policy development and advancement. Statistics provide background knowledge for justice sector priorities and decisions and for the informed direction of state resources. The justice sector should have access to recent statistics on prevalence and incidence of cases of violence against women. Strategies to support and increase data collection include:

  • Support standardized and regular collection of data on all forms of violence against women and girls. For accurate prevalence data, use population-based surveys, such as the WHO Multi-Country Study on Domestic Violence (World Health Organization, 2006); International Violence Against Women Surveys (Violence Against Women: An International Perspective (IVAWS), Johnson et al., 2008) or the Demographic and Health Survey Domestic Violence Module (MEASURE DHS). For a link to the IVAWS survey instrument (Appendix IV) click here. Many states use official statistics and individual accounts to support conclusions on levels of crime victimization. For example, Canada collects data on police reports and investigations and regularly surveys individuals on their experience with violent incidents, whether or not they have reported a crime. (Sauvé and Hung, 2009).
  • Obtain support from an academic or expert partner to conduct a population-based survey.
  • Support the creation of state-run informational databases on incidences of violence for judicial and prosecutorial access. Databases should be disaggregated by gender, age, relationship, ethnic origin, type of violence, and location of violence.
  • Develop unified and standardized methods for data collection, ensuring the validity and reliability of the information.
  • Ensure that databases are available for country-wide use.
  • Create perpetrator databases with information about prior convictions, previous orders for protection and violations of orders for protection, outstanding warrants, parole and bail conditions, sex offender data, no-contact orders and violations of no-contact orders, and any other court orders from other court systems, such as the family court. In order to protect women and girls, judges and prosecutors need access to as much information about the prior record of the perpetrator as possible.
  • Confidential information about survivors of violence, especially names and addresses, should be omitted from any publicly accessible databases, to support victim safety.

Tools for Data Collection:

Survey Module for Measuring Violence against Women (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). This module has been developed and tested to enable countries to collect a minimum set of information to measure the prevalence of physical, sexual and intimate partner violence contained in the Report of the Friends of the Chair of the United Nations Statistical Commission on Indicators on Violence against Women. The module has been tested in Armenia, Georgia, Mexico, the Republic of Moldova and South Africa. The survey instrument and guidance for implementing the survey are available in English.

Surveying Justice: A Practical Guide to Household Surveys (Himelein et al., 2010). English 

Challenges in Measuring Violence Against Women (Garcia-Moreno and Jansen, 2009). PowerPoint which discusses essential principles and challenges of measuring violence against women and offers tools and resources to practitioners. English.

WHO Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Researching, Documenting and Monitoring Sexual Violence in Emergencies (World Health Organization, 2007). English and French. 

WHO Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Interviewing Trafficked Women (World Health Organization, 2003).   Available in ArmenianBosnianCroatianEnglishJapanese,RomanianRussianSpanish and Serbian.

Putting Women First: Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Research on Violence Against Women (World Health Organization, 2001). English, French and Spanish.

Measuring Intimate Partner Violence Victimization and Perpetration:  A Compendium of Assessment Tools (Thompson et al., 2006). English.

Violence Against Women and Girls:  A Compendium of Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators (Bloom, 2008). English.

Demographic and Health Surveys, Measure DHS, DHS Domestic Violence Module (Demographic and Health Surveys, Measure DHS). English.

DHS FGC Module (Demographic and Health Surveys, Measure DHS). English.

Researching Violence Against Women:  A Practical Guide for Researchers and Activists (Ellsberg and Heise, 2005). Available in English and Spanish.

The Domestic Abuse Information Network Database (Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, USA) is a Microsoft Access database programme designed for use by domestic abuse agencies. It assembles the information necessary to track and monitor domestic assault related cases in a coordinated community response to domestic violence. The database can evaluate demographic data, number and types of arrests, case processing time, case dispositions, and re-offenses, as well as analyze police, court, and offender programme records and more. Reports show trends in the system and can help to determine policy or procedural changes that might need to be made. Screens include offender and victim demographic information, law enforcement events with corresponding details on risk factors, criminal court hearings and probation actions, civil court hearings and protection orders, and participation in offenders' programmes. To order via mail, click here. To order online, click here.