TYPES OF DATA SOURCES
There are two main types of data sources that can be used to obtain information about FDV and both are included in this Directory:
- Administrative by-product data
These data are collected by government agencies (e.g. police, courts, child protection authorities) and service providers (e.g. public hospitals) as part of their case management, clinical or other administrative records about clients and the nature of their transactions with the agency/service. Information may be extracted from these records and compiled for statistical or analytical purposes.
Administrative by-product data sources can provide rich datasets about people and their contact with government agencies. A limitation of administrative by-product data is that the nature of information collected is guided by operational or service provision needs, rather than any broader theoretical or policy context and as such, may not directly or completely satisfy these research information needs. For reasons including practicality, confidentiality or limited resources, not all information obtained by agencies / service providers is recorded on information databases and available for statistical use. Another limitation with administrative by-product data is that comparisons across sources can be complicated and often are not possible at all, as agencies and service providers have different business and information recording practices and different operational definitions of FDV based on service eligibility criteria, legislation or the target population for service use. Any single administrative by-product data source is reflective only of those people who have contact with the agency or use the service and thus only covers the formal system elements of the FDV Framework.
Surveys collect data directly from the chosen respondent. Surveys can be undertaken by collecting data from some, or all, of the population of interest to the study. In a census collection, all units in a population are approached for information. In sample surveys, information is collected from some units of a population only. Data from sample surveys are then 'expanded' or 'weighted' to make inferences about the whole population. Thus the sample is a set of observations taken from the population for the purpose of obtaining information about the population.
Surveys can complement administrative by-product data sources by collecting data not captured by administrative data sources. For example, victimisation surveys are specifically designed to provide information about prevalence of crimes, details about victims and their experiences and reporting/non-reporting behaviours that administrative by-product cannot provide as many victims of crime do not report their experiences to the police or other service providers. Surveys are also designed to capture perceptions of FDV and evaluative information on service or program provision.
To the extent that surveys use standard definitions and methodologies, they enable comparisons to be made across datasets and over time. Where standardised definitions of FDV are used, they are able to measure FDV incidents that may or may not be classified as criminal across all states and territories or captured by all service providers. Limitations of survey data sources include problems of recall, non-response, disclosure and coverage.
The majority of data sources included in this Directory are primary data sources, although secondary data sources produced by government, which include substantial additional data or analysis compared to that already published by the primary sources, are also included.
- Primary data sources are those in which the responsible agency /organisation owns the administrative by-product or survey data. They may directly collect and record the data themselves, using databases or systems also owned by the agency/organisation, or this can be done by a third party researcher or service provider on their behalf. Unless otherwise specified in the "Data availability/dissemination section" of an entry, readers should contact the primary data source holders with detailed questions and/or data requests.
- Secondary data sources are compendium publications or reports which cite data collected and owned by other agencies / organisations. They can provide useful analyses, recommendations and information on the policy context and may present data in tabulations, graphs or other ways that differ from those presented by the primary source. Secondary sources may hold databases containing summary data or a copy of the source record data, initially collected by another agency or entity. As they do not own the original data, they usually cannot provide access to information beyond what is already published. Entries for secondary data sources are less detailed than those for primary data sources and more detailed information about their contents can be accessed through links to the relevant agencies and publications.