|Strategies for Confronting Domestic Violence - A Resource Manual (UN, 1993, 130 p.)|
|IX. Gathering and sharing information|
National data collection is occurring in countries. This data collection contributes to the development of integrated responses by revealing common priority areas, assuring consistency of data and streamlining the collection process.
In some countries, there have been proposals to establish national reference centres which would periodically measure the scope and scale of violence.193
Comprehensive national data collection may include information on both victims and perpetrators as well as the circumstances in which domestic violence occurs.
In general, fully developed data collection systems seek to accomplish two major goals:
(a) To build a bank of base-line information which describes the extent and nature of the problem and responses to it by using routine reporting mechanisms;
(b) To obtain supplementary information to address specific priorities, using other methodologies such as victimization surveys and targeted surveys.
National statistics gathering systems in Canada, such as the Uniform Crime Reporting System and the Homicide Database, provide information on some crimes of domestic violence. Both systems, moreover, include information on the relationship between the victim and the accused. This information helps to identify crimes which might otherwise not be recognized as incidents of domestic violence.
Canada has also developed a four-year Strategy for the Collection and Analysis of National Family Violence Information.194 The overall goal is to provide comprehensive, ongoing information on domestic violence, particularly in areas identified as priorities. The strategy includes a series of specialized national surveys on domestic violence to enhance existing victimization survey data. Practitioners are also considering revisions to existing criminal justice data collection and other systems to provide a more comprehensive picture of the problem.
The United States employs similar strategies. Criminal justice system mechanisms, including the Uniform Crime Reports and the National Crime Survey, collect information on domestic violence. These mechanisms, however, do not include all incidents of violence and the manner of collecting the data may make it difficult to isolate domestic violence for research purposes.195
In some countries, the development of national information gathering systems has not occurred, for reasons which may include lack of resources. Here, independent and external monitoring and research offer, at a minimum, an outside perspective on the extent and scope of the problem. In addition, independent monitoring at the international level can help build a global perspective on domestic violence. Recent examples of such work include the following:
A UNIFEM supported study on violence against women196
An Amnesty International Report on human rights violations against women197
The reports of the Womens Project of Americas Watch, which have considered violence against women in Brazil, Kuwait, Pakistan and Peru.