The Incident element of the Framework provides for the description of characteristics of incidents (i.e. what happened and in what circumstances), characteristics of victims and characteristics of perpetrators.
The issues set out below have been compiled in order to identify the type of data needed to meet the information needs of researchers, policy-makers and service-providers. Detailed information about every incident is not necessarily required, nor is it generally possible to collect data with this level of coverage and detail.
Characteristics of incident(s)
In order to address major policy priorities, it is necessary to develop a better understanding of the nature of FDV, and thus of the relevant issues that will assist in providing appropriate services and developing education and prevention programs.
It is recognised that FDV may occur as a 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 issues when attempting to record details of victimisation(s); whether individual incidents are recorded, or whether the record is primarily based on the occurrence of incidents within a particular relationship. 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.
A further difficulty for the analysis of incidents by services is that data are generally collected by a number of disparate agencies. This makes building a cohesive picture of incidents complex, where data and information are not easily shared due to privacy or security issues. In addition, some aspects of FDV, such as financial deprivation, may not be easily identifiable through counts of specific incidents.
Characteristics of victims and perpetrators
Information relating to the characteristics of victims and to the characteristics of perpetrators can be used to identify population groups that are over-represented in either category, and to profile high-risk groups. Information can also be used to inform and educate the general public.
Another area for which an understanding of FDV incidents, victims and perpetrators is needed is the planning and provision of appropriately targeted services through various government and private systems. These services include police response, court support services, services dealing specifically with FDV, health/medical services, disability services, community services, treatment and rehabilitation programs, child protection services, and education and prevention programs. Interactions between a victim/perpetrator, family and friends, and all services, take place within the context of perceptions and beliefs about FDV as well as the fear and possibility of recurrence of violence. Specific services may be required for different groups of people affected by incidents of FDV, and the ability to appropriately recognise these people is essential for providing appropriate services to reduce negative outcomes.