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Foundation for a National Data Collection and Reporting Framework for family, domestic and sexual violence

Identifies the key data items and recording formats required to improve reporting of family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia

Reference period
2014
Released
30/09/2014
Next release Unknown
First release

Introduction

Family, domestic and sexual violence causes both human and economic suffering across Australia. Improving the evidence base across sectors and jurisdictions can help enhance understandings about the extent of these issues and provide the basis to make sound policy and service provision decisions.

In providing a solid foundation and evidence base for the reporting of family, domestic and sexual violence, it is essential to focus effort on collecting consistent and comparable data. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) recognises this through its endorsement of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (National Plan). The Commonwealth, states and territories are working together to support the National Plan through the evidence building process by committing to and adopting consistent data collection standards in existing administrative processes.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is also committed to producing nationally consistent data to support the National Plan.

Purpose of this publication

The purpose of this publication is to provide an overview of the Foundation for a National Data Collection and Reporting Framework (DCRF) and to act as a guide for organisations about the collection of administrative data in respect to family, domestic and sexual violence. The DCRF identifies the key data items and recording formats required to improve reporting of family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia. It is designed to assist in reporting at different levels; from monitoring of service provision and funding submissions through to meeting requirements for national data collection, analysis and reporting. The aims of the DCRF are to provide:

  • a clear, concise and logical structure for data collection activities;
  • guidelines for collecting data items to ensure consistent family, domestic and sexual violence reporting; and
  • advice to organisations on the implementation of data collection, storage and reporting practices.
     

The National Plan

The National Plan is a long term approach to reducing violence against women and their children in Australia. It is driven by Six National Outcomes designed to support long lasting change as measured by the Four High Level National Indicators of Change. The National Plan recognises the long term commitment required to achieve these outcomes, and to support this has developed four action plans that all jurisdictions have agreed to work together to implement (Diagram 1).
 

Diagram 1: The first action plan to support the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children

Diagram 1: The first Action Plan to support the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children

Diagram 1: The first action plan to support the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children

The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children includes six national outcomes:

1. Communities are safe and free from violence
2. Relationships are respectful
3. Indigenous communities are strengthened
4. Services meet the needs of women and their children experiencing violence
5. Justice responses are effective
6. Perpetrators stop their violence and are held to account

Followed by four high level national indicators of change;

Reduced prevalence of family and domestic violence and sexual assault
Increased proportion of women who feel safe in their communities
Reduced deaths related to family and domestic violence and sexual assault
Reduced proportion of children exposed to their mother’s or carers’ experience of domestic violence.

The four action plans are;
Building a strong foundation
Moving ahead
Promising results
Turning the corner

Source: Adapted from the National Implementation Plan: First Action Plan 2010-2013 (FaHCSIA, 2012)
 

The first action plan - Building a Strong Foundation

The first action plan, Building a Strong Foundation, establishes a solid basis for the National Plan through a number of priority areas. One of these priority areas is a commitment to Building the Evidence Base for family, domestic and sexual violence. There are four activities identified in this priority area (Diagram 2). The ABS was commissioned to implement one of the activities, the development of a National Data Collection and Reporting Framework. This is the third publication in a series of ABS work to establish the Foundation for a National Data Collection and Reporting Framework (DCRF).

The first publication Defining the data challenge for family, domestic and sexual violence, Australia (cat. no. 4529.0) provided a framework for understanding the data complexities in this area. It identified the use of administrative data as a potentially cost effective means of collecting data. The second publication Bridging the data gaps for family, domestic and sexual violence, Australia (cat.no. 4529.0.00.002) built on the first paper by outlining the current data environment for both survey and administrative collections. It also assessed the key data priorities against existing sources and provided recommendations for improvements in administrative data collection.

The focus of the first two publications was on realising the potential of administrative information for more robust reporting within organisations and across the family, domestic and sexual violence service sectors. This publication builds on the information presented in the earlier publications by outlining the DCRF and identifying the key data items for collection in administrative data sets.
 

Diagram 2: Activities that support Building the Evidence Base

Diagram 2: Activities that support Building the Evidence Base

Diagram 2: Activities that support Building the Evidence Base

The diagram outlines the activities that support Building the Evidence Base for family, domestic, and sexual violence statistics. These include establishing a National Centre for Excellence; Building the Evidence Base through four-yearly cycles of the Personal Safety Survey and National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey; establishing an evaluation framework for the life of the National Plan; and establishing a National Data Collection and Reporting Framework. The three publications that support the National Data Collection and Reporting Framework include Defining the Data Challenge; Bridging the Data Gaps; and Foundation for a National Data Collection and Reporting Framework (DCRF).

Source: Adapted from the National Implementation Plan: First Action Plan 2010-2013 (FaHCSIA, 2012)
 

Overview of the Foundation for a Data Collection and Reporting Framework (DCRF)

The DCRF provides the basis for consistent collection of administrative data by organisations in the field of family, domestic and sexual violence. The data items identified in the DCRF are designed to support a stable national framework that is consistent with the reporting needs of organisations, jurisdictions and national programs. A list of key data items are outlined for collecting information about the characteristics of individuals experiencing violence, the incidents of violence (location and the circumstances involved), the types of responses, and the outcomes of these responses for the individuals involved.

Consistent adoption of the data items outlined in the DCRF has the potential to deliver direct benefits to organisations by enabling the production of robust evidence about service provision from their administrative processes. These include being able to:

  • evaluate their own procedures and services;
  • better understand client needs;
  • strategically plan business and service operations;
  • make comparisons with similar organisations;
  • devise an evidence based business/funding case; and
  • report as a service, department, region, or sector, and in the longer term contribute to national reporting initiatives.
     

Notwithstanding the benefits of consistent data collection practices and standards, the implementation of the DCRF may present significant challenges for organisations. Implementation may require:

  • a commitment by management to the DCRF;
  • analysis and identification of potential reporting data items;
  • operational changes to processes and practices; and
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT) system improvements.
     

The scope of administrative data that can be made available for reporting purposes is determined by the service provided. Some information that is ideally required for reporting may not be collected by all organisations, particularly when it does not inform service provision. For example a counselling service may ask who the perpetrator was, but may not need to collect a large amount of information about that person. On the other hand, a police officer may collect as much identifying information as possible about a suspect in an effort to gather evidence to proceed with the case. As a result, some information about family, domestic and sexual violence may not be found within all administrative data sets.

With this in mind, the DCRF should be used as a guide for organisations to improve current data capture and recording practices.

The Foundation for a National Data Collection and Reporting Framework

The DCRF is a broad level conceptual map that provides a systematic way of organising data about experiences of family, domestic and sexual violence into information units for statistical collection. It also provides the specifications and standards for the key data items. When implemented, collection of these data items can allow for consistent monitoring and reporting of family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia by organisations and governments.

Why use a framework?

Organisations share many common information practices and needs. For instance, on any given day organisations may need to know:

  • information about the client (for example, their age and sex, family situation, languages spoken, where they live and with whom, disability and health status);
  • details about the experience/event (what occurred, when and where);
  • the type of service/s provided and the result of those services or programs; and
  • how many clients they have and at what times of the day or year are they most busy.
     

Some of this information may already be collected during the organisation’s administrative processes. By using the DCRF to collect client and service details, organisations can create consistent and comparable data to better understand client characteristics, needs and the service demand. This information can also contribute to local, jurisdictional and national reporting requirements.

The Foundation for a Data Collection and Reporting Framework (DCRF)

The DCRF consists of two separate components: data collection and reporting. Both of these are linked to a person’s experience of violence, as is illustrated in Diagram 3. The DCRF focuses on improving the quality and consistency of the inputs (data collection) in an effort to lay the basis for answering research and policy questions (reporting).

The day to day operations of organisations produces information that has the potential to support both components of the DCRF. Specifically, information about family, domestic and sexual violence is recorded in administrative systems when a person comes into contact with an organisation. This is referred to as the process of data collection.

This publication focuses on the data collection component of the DCRF as this is considered the building block of consistent reporting. Data collection captures information about a person’s experience of violence through the use of three information units (‘person’, ‘event’ and ‘transaction’) as highlighted in Diagram 3.

The ‘person’ unit captures information about the individual (such as ‘Age’, ‘Sex’ and ‘Relationship Status’). Information about the experience of violence (such as ‘Location of Event’ and ‘Type/s of Violence’) is included in the ‘event’ unit. When a person seeks help (in the form of contacting an organisation) it is included in the ‘transaction’ unit. This unit can be further separated into data items about the service sought (organisational information) and the outcome/s of this interaction.

Typically, information about a transaction is recorded throughout the duration of a person’s contact with an organisation and concludes when an outcome has been reached or the service provision is terminated.

The reporting component of the DCRF is dependent on the quality of the data items outlined in the Framework. By collecting information about the three information units it may be possible to combine the data items to answer key research questions identified in Defining the data challenge. This also includes the production of a variety of measures that monitor and report on service delivery activities.

Collection of 'person' data items

Data items collected about a person (the individual seeking a service) are part of the administrative work undertaken by organisations at the commencement of contact with an individual. This information can be collected via self-enumeration or through direct questioning in a paper based or electronic format. It is recommended that the same questions and response options are asked in the same format to better ensure consistency in recording and optimise data quality.

The uses of these ‘person’ data items include: understanding the client base; assessing higher risk groups; monitoring whether services are operating efficiently and client needs are being met. Other uses for this information include developing business cases to access additional resources or funding for better service delivery (for more information, see Person Information Unit - Key Data Items).

Collection of 'event' data items

Information about how violence is experienced by a person is best understood by collecting data items about the event (for more information, see Event Information Unit - Key Data Items). This includes the type/s of violence experienced, date, location and the relationship/s in which violence occurs. This information can be collected via self-enumeration or through direct questioning in a paper based or electronic administrate format. It is recommended that the same questions and response options are asked in the same format to better ensure consistency in recording and optimise data quality.

Standardising data collection about an event assists organisations in understanding people’s experience of family, domestic and sexual violence and assists with early identification of those at risk. This in turn, may identify where improvements, developments and prevention programs are required. It also provides the opportunity to generate data that ensures support services are responding to client need and improving outcomes for individuals who experience family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia.

There are many organisations that may come into contact or respond to family, domestic and sexual violence events. Information about an event can be collected within administrative processes at a number of different time points. Where and when this processing/recording occurs will have an impact on the quantity and quality of the data collected. For example, for police and emergency departments, information is collected at or close to the time of the event. However, this may not be the case for all organisations. Details of the event may also be obtained from a person retrospectively, during service delivery.

Collection of 'transaction' data items

Understanding how often particular organisations are frequented, by whom and how effective these are, is possible from analysis of administrative data. Information about an organisation’s service delivery is valuable as it can provide evidence regarding where services are unable to meet existing need and where additional resources are required.

The standardisation of data collection practices by an organisation equips them with statistical data from which to measure performance. Transaction data forms part of the evidence base about service use and demand in the field of family, domestic and sexual violence.

Differing from the previous two information units, the nature of the information collected about a transaction is not obtained directly from the person accessing a service. Rather it is information about the organisation (such as ‘Organisation Address’) and data which may be recorded as part of their day to day administrative operations, including information about the output/s from service provision (for more information, see Transaction Information Unit - Key Data Items).

The type of organisation providing a service determines the data items collected. Some of the data items will be derived. For example, the type of organisation may not be recorded as a data item; instead it may be implied by who is undertaking the collection activities. Similarly the type of person who is seeking assistance may be implied in the type of service accessed (victim support, perpetrator counselling, child protection etc.)

Recording of outcomes is also dependant on the definitions, processes and practices of the organisation/s responsible for data collection and compilation.
 

Diagram 3: The Foundation for a National Data Collection and Reporting Framework

Diagram 3: The Foundation for a National Data Collection and Reporting Framework

Diagram 3: The Foundation for a National Data Collection and Reporting Framework

Presents a visual representation of the framework, including the data collection aspect, comprised of the three information units (person, event, transaction) and the data items subsumed under each. The reporting aspect is also presented which includes the research and policy questions and how each of these is informed by the information units.

The data items relating to 'person' information unit include sex, date of birth, address, indigenous status, CALD characteristics (country of birth, main language other than English spoken at home, proficiency in English), relationship status, pregnancy status, children, housing, disability status, mental health indicator, labour force status, source of income, educational attainment and linkage key.

The associated research/policy questions are;

Who experiences family, domestic and sexual violence?
· Number of clients
· Demographic profile of client base
· Geographic proximity to client base
· Barriers to access and special needs
· Economic indicators.

The data items relating to 'event' information unit include date of event, location of event, relationship between parties and types of violence.

The associated research/policy questions are;

How do people experience family, domestic and sexual violence?
· Types of violence experienced
· Persons involved in family, domestic and sexual violence events
· Characteristics of family, domestic and sexual violence events

The data items relating to 'transaction' information unit include date of transaction, organisation address, organisation type and output/s from service provision.

The associated research/policy questions are;

Outputs from engaging with organisations that respond to those affected by violence.
· Number of perpetrators charged
· Number of restraining orders issued
· Counselling service attended
· Medical treatment received
· Housing assistance
· Financial assistance
· Legal advice/repreentation

Person information unit - key data items

This section identifies and describes the key data items for collection about the person information unit. It also provides general guidelines for collecting this information with references to existing data collection standards which can be adopted to ensure that data is being collected consistently across a range of organisations.

The collection of data about a person can have numerous benefits including improving:

  • information about the prevalence of family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia;
  • understanding about who experiences, or is exposed to incidents of family, domestic and sexual violence;
  • initiatives aimed at prevention through the identification of common risk factors; and
  • formal responses by highlighting the types of barriers people face when attempting to access support services following an event of family, domestic and sexual violence.
     

A range of data items have been included to enable the identification of the population groups of interest (for more information, see Defining the Data Challenge for Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence (cat. no. 4529.0). However, it is important to note that the DCRF aims to outline key data items only. As a result, organisations may need to consider the addition of further data items for the statistical measurement of population groups of interest.

The recommended key data items for the ‘person’ information unit are highlighted in Diagram 3. In order to make it possible to count the number of persons that have contacted an organisation within a given reference period, a unique identifier for each individual person is required, such as a ‘Linkage Key’.
 

Diagram 4: Data items required for the ‘person’ information unit

Diagram 4: Data items required for the ‘person’ information unit

Diagram 4: Data items required for the ‘person’ information unit

Outlines the data items required for the 'person' information unit, including: sex; date of birth; address; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status; cultural and linguistic diversity characteristics, including country of birth, main language other than English spoken at home, and proficiency in English; Relationship status, pregnancy status; children; housing, disability status; mental health indicator; labour force status; source of income; educational attainment; and linkage key (given name, surname, date of birth, and sex).

Sex

Description

The data item ‘Sex’ is the biological distinction between male and female as reported by a person, or as determined by an administrator.

It is acknowledged that identifying populations of interest such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex is a priority. However, there is currently no agreed standard for measurement of this data item and as such has not been included in the DCRF.

Benefits of collecting this information

Collecting data about ‘Sex’ can inform decisions around staff allocation and assist in modifying program delivery. This data can also contribute to improved understandings about the prevalence of violence amongst women and men within the Australian community.

Guidelines

Information about a person’s ‘Sex’ can be collected through a self-completed tick box question, through observation or direct questioning. Please note it may be considered inappropriate or offensive to directly ask a person for this information.

In addition, an organisation needs to consider the usefulness of the inclusion of an intersex data item. If required, it is advised that the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) standard below is used.

Related data collection standards

While the current standards are useful, further development of the related standard is required.

ABS – Demographic Variables (cat. no. 1285.0) ‘Sex’

AIHW – METeOR Person – Sex

Date of Birth

Description

The data item ‘Date of Birth’ is information about the day, month and year that a person was born. It is advisable to collect this rather than an individual’s stated age.

Benefits of collecting this information

‘Date of Birth’ can be used to identify programs or initiatives which respond to the needs of specific sub-populations (such as youth or the elderly). In a broader sense, date of birth can assist in identifying how prevalent violence is amongst particular age groups within the Australian community.

Guidelines

‘Date of Birth’ is collected to derive the age of a person. While age in single years is also an acceptable measure, collecting date of birth is highly desirable as it enables the calculation of a person’s age at any chosen point in time (such as the time of data collection). The use of ‘Date of Birth’ provides more accuracy and flexibility in output categories (such as single year of age or age groups) and can also be used for data linkage purposes.

Address

Description

The ‘Address’ data item captures information about a place a person regards as their main residence or the place where they currently reside.

Benefits of collecting this information

The collection of data about a person’s residential/usual address can assist in determining, measuring and monitoring service needs relative to location. In a broader sense, residential address can assist in identifying whether there is a correlation between incidents of violence and a person’s geographic location.

Guidelines

Collecting an individual’s full street address, locality, state and postcode are recommended as these provide the greatest amount of detail for geo-coding to a statistical area. The greater the detail of information collected, the more beneficial this information can be in identifying client/service need. It can also be used for data linkage purposes.

However, where sensitivities prevent the collection of full street address, the most detailed level of information available should be collected, for example: locality, state and postcode may be collected in full/or in part.

Related data collection standards

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Status

Description

The statistical standard associated with this data items refers to whether a person self-identifies as an Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person; or of non-Indigenous origin. It does not refer to physical appearance.

It is important to note that in statistical and administrative collections it is not feasible collect information on all three components of the ‘The Commonwealth Definition’. The decision made in the High Court Judgement in the case of Commonwealth v Tasmania (1983) 46 ALR 625 state the three components are as follows:

  • descent;
  • self-identification; and
  • community acceptance.
     

Therefore, the community acceptance criterion is not included in this data item.

Benefits of collecting this information

The collection of information about a person’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status can be used to assess whether specific service needs of these communities are being met, or where this is not the case.

Guidelines

This information can be obtained through self-enumeration or direct questioning which enables the individual to nominate whether they identify as Aboriginal; Torres Strait Islander; both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or neither Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. This information should be requested from all persons in a consistent manner, regardless of physical appearance.

Related data collection standards

ABS – Standards for Statistics on Cultural and Language Diversity, 1999 (cat. no. 1289.0) ‘Indigenous Status’

Please Note: the ABS is currently in the process of reviewing its data standards for Indigenous status.

AIHW – METeOR – Person – Indigenous Status

Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (CALD) characteristics

Description

The ‘Cultural and Linguistic Diversity’ data item is made up of multiple data items that capture the cultural and linguistic characteristics of a person. When used together they can determine a person’s origins and cultural diversity.

Benefits of collecting this information

This information can inform important decisions around resource allocation and help ensure services are accessible, inclusive and respond to the needs of all people who require assistance.

Guidelines

The recommended set of core data items required in determining an individual’s cultural and linguistic background includes:

  • ‘Country of Birth’;
  • Main Language Other than English Spoken at Home’;
  • Proficiency in Spoken English’; and
  • ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Status’.
     

Information about the first three of these data items should be collected about an individual and are described below. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status see previous data item.

In addition to the recommended set of data items, more detailed information about a person’s cultural and linguistic background can be ascertained by collecting information about a person’s ‘Ancestry’, ‘Country of Birth of Father’, ‘Country of Birth of Mother’, ‘First Language Spoken’, ‘Languages Spoken at Home’, ‘Main Language Spoken at Home’, ‘Religious Affiliation’ and ‘Year of Arrival in Australia’.

CALD - Country of Birth

Description

The ‘Country of Birth’ data item captures information about the country a person was born in.

Benefits of collecting this information

‘Country of Birth’ is used to assess the ethnic and cultural composition of a particular population. Collection of this information can benefit agencies through the identification of specific sub- population groups who are accessing services.

Guidelines

Information about a person’s country of birth can be obtained directly by asking the individual to specify in which country they were born, or by asking them to select their country of birth from a pre-determined list which may include the option ‘other (please specify)’.

CALD - Main Language Other than English Spoken at Home

Description

The ‘Main Language Other than English Spoken at Home’ data item captures information about the main language spoken by a person at home, other than English.

Benefits of collecting this information

This information is useful for organisations when making decisions around staffing and/or when allocating funding for interpreter services or other resources (such as translators, educational information, pamphlets etc.). More broadly, this information can ensure that all persons who experience family, domestic and sexual violence have equal access to services.

Guidelines

Information about a person’s ‘Main Language Other than English Spoken at Home’ can be collected by asking an individual to nominate the main language spoken in their home from a list of common languages which includes the option ‘Other (please specify)’. If a person reports that he/she speaks more than one language at home (not including English), they may be required to report the language spoken most often.

Where detailed information cannot be obtained an individual may be asked whether they speak a language other than English at home and a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer may be recorded.

CALD - proficiency in English

Description

Where a person has indicated that their main language spoken at home (see previous data item) was a language other than English they are then required to self-assess their ability to speak English.

Benefits of collecting this information

This information can be used by organisations when making decisions about staffing and/or when allocating funding for services or resources (such as translators, educational information, pamphlets etc.). It can also ensure services are accessible and respond effectively to the needs of people requiring language assistance.

Guidelines

This information is only intended to be collected where an individual has indicated that English is not their main language spoken at home (see previous data item). It can be collected from an individual using a self-enumerated question which includes a selection of responses ranging from ‘not at all’ to ‘very well’. An individual may require assistance in answering this question and appropriate support should be considered by organisations.

Relationship Status

Description

The ‘Relationship Status’ data item identifies whether a person is in a couple relationship, including current and/or previous relationships.

Benefits of collecting this information

The collection of this information can broaden understanding about how violence is experienced within different types of couple relationships.

Guidelines

Data about a person’s relationship status can be obtained by employing a self-completed tick box question or through direct questioning. The ABS standard uses a set of questions to assess a person’s registered marital status and social marital status. The latter includes same sex couples. This information may be an important factor for some service provision. Organisations should consider which standard is most appropriate.

Related data collection standards

While the current standards are a useful starting point, further development of the related standard is required.

ABS – Family, Household and Income Unit Variables (cat. no. 1286.0) ‘Registered Marital’ and ‘Social Marital’ Status

AIHW – METeOR – Person – Marital Status

Pregnancy Status

Description

The ‘Pregnancy Status’ data item is used to determine if a woman is pregnant. This could include information regarding the stage of pregnancy she is in.

Benefits of collecting this information

Pregnancy is often associated with an increased risk of experiencing family, domestic and sexual violence. This information can ensure that there are sufficient services that cater for pregnant women.

Guidelines

Information on a person’s pregnancy status can be collected via direct questioning or through a self- enumerated tick box question.

Related data collection standards

While the current standards are a useful starting point, further development of the related standard is required.

AIHW – METeOR – Female – Pregnancy Indicator

Children

Description

The ‘Children’ data item is used to determine if a person has dependent children. If yes, how many and their ages.

Benefits of collecting this information

People with dependent children can present with unique service delivery requirements and this can change depending on the number and age of the children. More broadly, this information can ensure that there are sufficient services that cater for those with dependent children.

Guidelines

Information on the number of dependent children a client has can be collected via direct questioning or through a self-enumerated tick box question.

Related data collection standards

While the current standards are a useful starting point, further development of the related standards are required.

ABS - Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0) 'CDCF: Count of Dependent Children in Family'

AIHW – METeOR – Person – Child Indicator

Housing

Description

A person’s housing status includes, but is not limited to, owning their residence, having a mortgage, renting or staying with a friend or relative.

Benefits of collecting this information

This information can assist in understanding the needs of a client in terms of housing, especially in assessing a client’s risk of homelessness.

Guidelines

Information on a person’s housing status can be collected via direct questioning or through a self- enumerated tick box question.

Related data collection standards

There is no specific data standard for this item; however the following could be used as a guideline:

ABS – Census Dictionary (cat. no. 2901.0) ‘TEND: Tenure Type’

AIHW – METeOR – Person – Housing Tenure Type, Homelessness

Disability Status

Description

The ‘Disability Status’ data item determines whether a person has a disability, serious health condition or requires special assistance.

Benefits of collecting this information

This information can assist organisations in understanding client need and ensuring services are inclusive and accessible for persons who experience family, domestic and sexual violence. More broadly this information can help enhance understanding about the characteristics of those that experience violence and assist in the identification of risk populations.

Guidelines

Information on a person’s disability status can be collected via direct questioning or through a self- enumerated tick box question. The individual or carer’s response should be recorded.

Related data collection standards

Mental Health Indicator

Description

The ‘Mental Health Indicator’ data item is a self-reported indicator on whether a person is experiencing a mental health disorder.

Benefits of collecting this information

This information can assist in the analysis of the characteristics of those that experience family, domestic and sexual violence. It can assist organisations in making decisions about accessibility requirements and resource allocation. More broadly, this information is useful in identifying sub-population groups at risk of experiencing family, domestic and sexual violence.

Guidelines

An individual may provide information on whether they experience a mental health disorder through a self-enumerated question with pre-determined response options ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Related data collection standards

While the current standards are a useful starting point, further development of the related standard is required.

AIHW – METeOR – Person – Mental Health Disorder Indicator

Labour Force Status

Description

The ‘Labour Force Status’ data item captures a person’s level of engagement in paid employment.

Benefits of collecting this information

‘Labour Force Status’ can be analysed alongside other social, economic and demographic indicators to broaden understanding about the characteristics of those who experience family, domestic and sexual violence.

Guidelines

Individuals should self-report their ‘Labour Force Status’ by selecting a category that best reflects their current level of engagement in paid employment from a predetermined list of choices (for example employed, unemployed or not in the labour force). This information should only be collected from persons aged 15 years and over.

Source of Income

Description

The ‘Source of Income’ data item captures the source from which a person derives the majority of their income.

Benefits of collecting this information

‘Source of Income’ can assist in understanding the needs and individual circumstances of the client base. This can support the equitable delivery of services. It can also be analysed alongside other social, economic and demographic information to inform understanding about the characteristics of those who experience family, domestic and sexual violence.

Guidelines

People should self-report their main source of income by selecting a category from a predetermined list of choices (for example nil income; allowances for students and the unemployment benefits). Where a person has multiple sources of income the primary or main source should be selected.

Educational Attainment

Description

The ‘Educational Attainment’ data item captures information about the highest level of education completed by a person.

Benefits of collecting this information

This information can be used in the analysis of the characteristics of those that experience family, domestic and sexual violence. It can assist organisations in making decisions about client requirements and resource allocation.

Guidelines

People should self-report their highest level of educational attainment by selecting a category from a predetermined list of choices.

Linkage Key

Description

The ‘Linkage Key’ is a unique code or data string which represents a unique person in a data set or administrative collection.

Benefits of collecting this information

A ‘Linkage Key’ makes it possible to count the number of persons who have contacted an organisation and the services they received. Without a unique identifier it may not be possible to determine how many individuals came into contact with the organisation and the number of times they required assistance.

Guidelines

The ‘Linkage Key’ is typically formed from characters in a person’s name, date of birth and sex (see existing classification below for example). This key is also used for linking across data systems to identify common persons. However a linkage key should only be activated across data systems with appropriate approvals and compliance with Privacy Acts.

Related data collection standards

Event information unit - key data items

This section identifies and describes the key data items that help inform the nature of a family, domestic and sexual violence event information unit. It also provides general guidelines for collecting this information and includes references to existing data collection standards, where these exist. These data items can be adopted to ensure consistency of data collected by administrators across a range of organisations.

There are numerous benefits to collecting this information including:

  • highlighting how, when and where violence is experienced;
  • improved understanding about prevalence of family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia;
  • identifying the types of violence that are experienced;
  • improving service delivery;
  • identifying the types of relationships; and
  • enhancing education programs and initiatives aimed at prevention.
     

The data items recommended for collection about an ‘event’ of family, domestic and sexual violence are outlined in Diagram 5.
 

Diagram 5: Data items required for the ‘event’ information unit

Diagram 5: Data Items required for the ‘event’ information unit

Diagram 5: Data items required for the ‘event’ information unit

Outlines the data items required for the 'event' information unit, including the date of the event, the location of the event, the relationship between parties, and the type(s) of violence.

Date of Event

Description

The ‘Date of Event’ data item records information about the day, month and year that the family, domestic and sexual violence was experienced/occurred. This could be the day of the transaction or many years before and may include a start and end date if the violence occurred over an extended period time.

Benefits of collecting this information

This information can assist in improving understanding about support seeking behaviours, prevalence and demand for services.

Guidelines

Where a person has experienced violence on multiple occasions, the date of the event that prompted the person to seek assistance or contact an organisation should be recorded.

Related data collection standards

There is no specific data standard for this item; however the ‘Service Contact Date’ used in METeOR could be used as a proxy.

AIHW – METeOR – Service Contact – Service Contact Date

Location of Event

Description

The ‘Location of Event’ data item is designed to capture the physical location (for example home, footpath or park) of an event of family, domestic and sexual violence. This information is separate to geographic information such as address.

Benefits of collecting this information

This information can assist in identifying the prevalence of family, domestic and sexual violence events occurring in particular types of locations and can be used to improve programs and service delivery.

Guidelines

The person may be asked to nominate the location category that best describes the place where they experienced family, domestic and sexual violence from a pre-determined list of responses. Where the person has experienced violence numerous times, the location of the event that prompted them to seek assistance should be recorded.

Related data collection standards

There is no specific standard for this item; however ‘Residential Setting’ in METeOR could be used as a proxy. Further development may be needed to ensure all possible locations are included in the standard.

AIHW – METeOR – Person – Residential Setting

Relationship between Parties

Description

The ‘Relationship between Parties’ data item assesses the type of relationship that exist between a person who experienced violence, and any other person (or persons) involved or present at an event (directly involved or witness to the event). This includes but is not limited to: family, friends, housemates or acquaintances.

Benefits of collecting this information

This information contributes to improved understanding about the types of familial and/or intimate relationships in which violence occurs. It provides insight into how frequently violence is experienced across a variety of relationships. This can enable more accurate targeting of support services and prevention programs.

Guidelines

The person should be asked to nominate their relationship to all parties who were present at the event from a pre-determined list of responses. The types of relationships recorded may differ depending on the nature of the recording agency.

Related data collection standards

There is no specific standard for this data, see ‘Relationship in Household’ for example of possible relationship types to consider for inclusion.
ABS – Family, Household and Income Unit Variables (cat. no. 1286.0) ‘Relationship in Household

Further development may be needed to ensure a comprehensive range of relationships are included for family, domestic and sexual violence events. Some relationships are not specified in legislation or may not be fully encompassed within legislation that addresses these types of violence. The ABS publication Defining the data challenge outlines a comprehensive list of possible relationships that should be considered for inclusion.

Types of Violence

Description

This data item captures information about the type (or types) of violent behaviour that was experienced by a person during the most recent event of family, domestic and sexual violence (for example, physical, verbal or sexual assault, threatening behaviour, stalking, psychological and economic abuse).

Benefits of collecting this information

This information can improve the understanding of the prevalence of various violent behaviours experienced within families, and across a variety of relationships. This can lead to improved resource allocation and improved service delivery through targeted responses for different forms of violence.

Guidelines

Where a person has experienced multiple forms of violence within the one event, all types of violence experienced during the incident should be recorded. The ‘Type/s of Violence’ recorded will differ depending on the nature of the recording agency.

Related data collection standards

There is no specific standard for this data item; however an example of possible categories for types of violence is included below.
ABS – Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classification (ANZSOC), 2011 (cat. no. 1234.0)

Further development may be needed to ensure a comprehensive range of family, domestic and sexual violence behaviours are included. Some forms of violence are not specified in legislation or may not be fully encompassed within legislation (for example, verbal or emotional abuse). The ABS publication Defining the data challenge outlines a comprehensive list of types of violence and associated behaviours that should be considered for inclusion.

Transaction information unit - key data items

This section identifies and describes the key data items for collection about the transaction information unit; and provides general guidelines for collecting this information. It includes references to data collection standards where these exist.

The collection of ‘transaction’ data can have numerous benefits for organisations by:

  • enabling assessment of services to determine which of these are best placed to respond to the needs of those who experience family, domestic and sexual violence;
  • identifying the level of demand for services;
  • identifying the proximity of the service in relation to the client base to ensure that services are conveniently located and accessible to people in need; and
  • highlighting where resources are insufficient in responding to client needs/demands.


The data items recommended for the collection about the ‘transaction’ are highlighted in Diagram 6.
 

Diagram 6: Data items required for the ‘transaction’ information unit

Diagram 6: Data items required for the ‘transaction’ information unit

Diagram 6: Data items required for the ‘transaction’ information unit

Outlines the data items required for the 'transaction' information unit, including date of transaction, organisation address, organisation type, and output/s from service provision.

Date of Transaction

Description

This data item captures information about the day, month and year in which the transaction between an individual and an organisation provider occurred. This may be recorded in the form of a start and/or end date of transaction.

Benefits of collecting this information

This information can assist services in identifying peaks and troughs in demand for services.

Guidelines

Multiple transaction dates may be recorded for a person. The ‘Date of Transaction’ should be recorded in conjunction with a unique identifier, or ‘Linkage Key', to produce outputs about the number of transactions between a person and an organisation.

Organisation Address

Description

This data item captures information about the full street address, locality and postcode where a face to face service is provided.

Benefits of collecting this information

In combination with a person’s address, this information can be used to assess the proximity of organisations in relation to clients thereby highlighting where additional services are needed to improve accessibility.

Guidelines

The address of the organisation where the face to face service was provided should be recorded. For some organisations the service may be provided via the web or phone, in these cases recording the ‘Organisation Address’ is not required. The transaction address recorded in conjunction with the ‘Linkage key’, can enable outputs about the proximity of a person in relation to the service/s used. This may not be possible for some services due to privacy constraints.

Organisation Type

Description

The ‘Organisation Type’ data item is the primary function or role of the organisation involved in the transaction (for example Health, Police, Child Protection, Legal or Victim Support). This data item is determined by the organisation that is collecting the information and is sometimes a derived data item. If required this may be specific to a sector and would be negotiated upon establishment of an administrative collection.

Benefits of collecting this information

The benefit of collecting this information (along with other data items) is that it can be used to analyse the accessibility of services for clients.

Guidelines

The ‘Organisation Type’ should be selected from a predetermined list of choices.

Related data collection standards

Outputs from Service Provisions

Unlike the other data items presented in the DCRF, the ‘Output/s from Service Provision’ is dynamic and does not lend itself to a generic classification. Accordingly this data item is included in the DCRF, without a description or guidelines, as it is essential to evaluating service provision of an organisation.

The ‘Output/s from Service Provision’ data item/s varies and is specific to an organisation providing the service. Accordingly this data item will require negotiation/agreement to produce measurable service outputs that are meaningful for an organisation. Understanding and defining the reporting requirements for each service area will shape what data will be included or excluded. This should occur upon the establishment of an administrative data collection.

The way forward

Unlocking information about family, domestic and sexual violence has potential benefits for the Australian community and the organisations that support them. Refining administrative data collection activities and ensuring data items are collected in a consistent and comparable manner will set the stage for robust reporting and a more flexible evidence base.

The DCRF is the basis of a shared understanding of family, domestic and sexual violence and is the first step to improving the evidence base. It can assist and guide organisations in the implementation of new systems or when considering existing measurement issues. Adoption of the key data items outlined in the DCRF will provide the foundations for the creation of strong reporting frameworks, at the local, jurisdictional and national levels.

The next step in developing a statistical evidence base for family, domestic and sexual violence is the application of the DCRF to existing administrative datasets. However, it is important to note that the DCRF is not limited to existing datasets. It can also be used to establish new data collection activities to fill gaps in the evidence base. The ABS is committed to providing statistical leadership to improve its statistical information. And as custodian of crime and justice datasets will be taking steps to apply the DCRF principles in augmenting these datasets to unlock family, domestic and sexual violence information.

A shift in the components of current information environments to adopt the DCRF may require ICT system improvements and/or change at the operational level. These changes may incur a cost to organisations, as will the establishment and agreement of conceptual standards to datasets that require improvement or do not currently exist.

The development and implementation of the DCRF requires ongoing and continued commitment from Australian government and non-government organisations. Furthermore, funding arrangements for the long term development of statistical assets in Australia to support a robust family, domestic and sexual violence evidence base will require negotiation and agreement by Australian governments.

Acknowledgements

This publication was completed in consultation with a range of Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and other organisations that operate in the field of family, domestic and sexual violence policy, research, service provision and prevention.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) acknowledges the support and input of the Department of Social Services (DSS) which, under the auspices of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2010-2022) (National Plan), provided funding support for the development of this publication by the ABS.

The ABS thanks the individuals and groups involved for their contributions to this publication.

Other useful publications

This publication continues the ABS role to provide guidance and leadership on standards, classifications, frameworks and best practice guides in the use of statistics, including those produced from administrative data. It can be used in conjunction with other ABS papers in the quality management series, including:

Bibliography

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Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2013, Defining the Data Challenge for Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence, 2013, cat. no. 4529.0, ABS, Canberra.
ABS, 2013, Bridging the data gaps for family, domestic and sexual violence, Australia, 2013, cat.no. 4529.0.00.002, ABS, Canberra.
ABS, 2012, Country of Birth Standard, 2012, Version 1.0, cat. no. 1200.0.55.004, ABS, Canberra.
ABS, 2012, Language Standards, 2012, Version 1.1, cat. no. 1200.0.55.005, ABS, Canberra.
ABS, 2012, Statistical Quality Incident Response Plan, Jun 2012, cat. no. 1542.0, ABS, Canberra.
ABS, 2011, Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 – Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, 2011, cat. no. 1270.0.55.001, ABS, Canberra.
ABS, 2011, Census Dictionary, 2011, cat. no. 2901.0, ABS, Canberra.
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ABS, 2010, Quality Management of Statistical Processes Using Quality Gates, Dec 2010, cat. no. 1540.0, ABS, Canberra.
ABS, 2009, ABS Data Quality Framework, May 2009, cat.no. 1520.0, ABS, Canberra.
ABS, 2005, Family, Household and Income Unit Variables, 2005, cat.no. 1286.0, ABS, Canberra.
ABS, 2001, Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001, cat.no. 1272.0, ABS, Canberra.
ABS, 1999, Demographic Variables, cat. no. 1285.0, ABS, Canberra.
ABS, 1999, Standards for Statistics on Cultural and Language Diversity, cat. no. 1289.0, ABS, Canberra.
ABS, 1997, Standards for Cash Income Statistics, 1997, cat. no. 1287.0, ABS, Canberra.
ABS, 1996, Standards for Labour Force Statistics, 1996, cat. no. 1288.0, ABS, Canberra.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), METeOR Home, accessed 25 September 2014, http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/181162
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) 2012, The National Plan for the First Action Plan 2010-2013, Building a Strong Foundation, FaHCSIA, Canberra.

Abbreviations

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ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
AIHWAustralian Institute of Health and Welfare
CALDCultural and Linguistic Diversity
COAGCouncil of Australian Governments
DCRFFoundation for a Data Collection and Reporting Framework
DSSDepartment of Social Services
FaHCSIADepartment of Families, Housing, Community Service and Indigenous Affairs
ICTInformation and Communications Technology
METeORMetadata Online Registry
NCASNational Community Attitudes Survey
PSSPersonal Safety Survey

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4529.0.00.003