CHARACTERISTICS OF INCIDENTS
To address major policy priorities, it is necessary to develop a better understanding of the nature of family, domestic and sexual violence. The characteristics of an incident or a series of incidents convey important information about the circumstances in which the violence occurs. This information helps to build greater understanding about the dynamics of these incidents and the interaction between the perpetrator and victim. Gaining greater understanding assists in the effective development and deployment of appropriate services, education and prevention programs.
It is recognised that family, domestic and sexual violence may occur as a single or relatively sporadic series of incidents for some people, be they victims or perpetrators, and may be a long-term or ‘chronic’ enduring experience for others. These differences introduce statistical measurement challenges when attempting to record details of victimisation such as, whether individual incidents are recorded, or whether the record is primarily based on the occurrence of incidents within a particular relationship. There is interest in the context within which sexual violence takes place, beyond the actual location of an assault or any existing relationship between perpetrator and victim. Sexual violence may occur in a work or social context, within a context of family and domestic violence or in other public settings such as in an institution. Measurement of different counting units at different points of the system’s processes (incidents, victims, offenders) and different reference periods (financial year, calendar year or other reporting periods) also introduce issues for measurement of incidents.
Information about an incident may also be collected differently across agencies and at different points in time, adding complexity to the analysis of incidents. Furthermore, due to matters of privacy and security, it may be difficult for agencies and services to exchange information, affecting the ability to build a comprehensive picture of incidents. There are also some aspects of family and domestic violence, such as financial deprivation, that may not be easily identifiable through counts of specific incidents.
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