By definition, informal responses do not involve reporting to services or systems providing formal responses to family, domestic and sexual violence. The only opportunity to collect data on the informal responses of victims is through victimisation or other surveys where victims of family, domestic and sexual violence are randomly sampled from the community. Surveys may ask about victims’ reliance on family, friends and other networks for support through disclosure after an incident. Currently, there is little information collected through surveys in Australia about informal responses to family, domestic or sexual violence by or for a perpetrator.
Surveys also provide estimates of the proportion of respondents who have accessed more formal responses such as reports to police and through the utilisation of professional and other services. This provides an indication of the total demand for, and utilisation of these services.
Administrative by-product data is the chief source of information about formal system responses. These data are obtained from the formal agency systems providing services in response to these incidents. These agencies, such as the criminal justice system, health services, and child protection services, keep records of their clients, services provided and outcomes which provides opportunities to source information about the workloads, resourcing and performance of the systems. Confidentiality and privacy considerations apply to the appropriate use of administrative data.
Together, administrative by-product data and survey data provide an indication of potential under-reporting and under-utilisation of services, through comparison of the volume of cases known to the system and those detected via direct surveys that have never otherwise been reported. This information can inform the development of policy measures, deployment of resources and the evaluation of service provision.
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