APPENDIX 2 COMPARABILITY BETWEEN PSS AND OTHER SOURCES
COMPARABILITY BETWEEN SOURCES
The 2005 PSS expands on the 1996 WSS by broadening the scope of the survey to include men. It enables analysis of the relative changes in women's personal safety over time, based on the comprehensive national benchmark provided by the WSS.
The ABS publishes data relating to crime and safety from different sources. Comparisons of PSS data with data from other sources cannot be readily made because of differences in data collection methods and the concepts and definitions used to measure violence.
Other main differences which may affect the comparability of data presented in this publication are outlined below. For further information about comparability between the PSS and WSS see the 2005, Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003) available on the ABS web site.
In addition to the 2005 PSS, crime victimisation indicators have recently been collected by the ABS through the 2005 National Crime and Safety Survey (NCSS) and the 2002 General Safety Survey (GSS). All three are household surveys using different methodologies and procedures resulting in different measures of crime victimisation. The following table summarises assault prevalence from these three surveys.
The above table indicates that prevalence of assault and violence victimisation ranges from 4.4% in the 2005 NCSS to 9.0% in the 2002 GSS. Quantifying the reasons for these differences is not possible. However, much of the differences are attributable to methodological and procedural factors, context effects (preceding questions influence responses to subsequent questions) and question wording. For example, the 2005 PSS asked about the most recent incident of sexual assault and sexual threat and then respondents were instructed to exclude any incidents they had already reported when reporting any incidents of physical assault and physical threat, whereas the GSS only asked about physical assaults and threats. It is possible an incident that may have been reported as sexual assault in the PSS would have been included as a physical assault in the GSS.
Assault prevalence rates, persons 18 years and over, During the last 12 months
The PSS is a purpose built survey designed to collect potentially sensitive information on feelings of safety and assault victimisation. The survey involved face to face personal interviews using Computer Assisted Interviewing (CAI) incorporating special procedures that:
The NCSS is conducted as a supplement to the ABS Labour Force Survey (LFS) and uses a self-administered questionnaire. The survey collects information from household members 15 years and over on a range of personal and property related crimes, such as household break-in, attempted break-ins and motor vehicle theft, and person robberies, assaults and sexual assaults (for persons aged 18 years and over) in the 12 months prior to the survey. The survey measures the incidence of force and violence and the respondent is required to make judgements about the definition of these terms.
- built a rapport with respondents and encouraged them to provide answers to often difficult and very personal questions
- emphasised the need for a safe environment in which to conduct the interview, and
- enabled concepts and definitions to be explained to the respondent as necessary.
The GSS involved a face to face personal interview using CAI. Being a general survey of social issues the collection of crime and safety data was only one part of the survey.
Further information on crime data measurement issues is available in the following: Information paper: Measuring Crime Victimisation, Australia - The Impact of Different Collection Methodologies, 2002 (cat no 4522.0.55.001).