What is the extent of the data challenge?
Data in this field is generally inconsistent and does not allow for a comprehensive understanding of violence against women and their children. Variations in data across Australia are affected by differences in what is captured, counted and reported across states and territories. The National Plan places a high priority on a comprehensive approach to building the evidence base to inform short and long term policy and service delivery decision making about violence against women.
At present, there are very few sources of quantitative information to help understand the extent of family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia, and available information is difficult to compare due to differences in how the issue is defined. Despite this, there are many agencies that collect family violence information, including, but not limited to justice, health, and support and housing services. The key requirement is to be able to unlock this information for the purposes of effective policy making and evaluation.
To help address this gap, the Commonwealth is investing in data. The ABS Personal Safety Survey and the ABS National Community Attitudes Survey will provide prevalence and attitudinal data at both a national and state and territory levels which will directly benefit governments, researchers and service providers. These surveys alone however cannot answer all the questions about family, domestic and sexual violence. Defining the data challenge for family, domestic and sexual violence will assist data experts, researchers and policy makers understand the true extent of the issue, and provide a pathway to better understand how to effectively measure family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia. It will be used as a common point of reference to help explain the difficulties in collecting and limitations of data collection in this field.
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