Experts Urge Better Data On Violence Against Women


The federal government should broaden its research agenda on violence against women, a committee of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences recommended today. The group said that each year in the U.S., 300,000 women are forcibly raped, more than 4 million are assaulted, and women account for one fifth of homicide victims.

In a report commissioned by Congress three years ago, experts recommended that research be extended beyond intimate-partner violence, which accounts for only one third of violence against women. The report called for better data on the prevalence of victimization of women.

Among other recommendations:

–more research “addressing the situational contexts and dynamic interactions that lead to violence against women” [including] the process underlying victim selection, location selection, and victim-offender interaction patterns.”

–studies “to estimate the extend of variation in violence against women among census tracts or small neighborhoods, police precincts or districts…”

–“adequate funds to support rigorous research designs and long-term evaluations of prevention and treatment programs in order to improve chances of effecting long-term reductions in the violent victimization of women.” The report concluded that the evaluation literature on prevention and treatment strategies “is particularly weak.”

–research on “how social stigma for acts of violence against women is generated and either sustained or eroded.”

–noting that the “link between intended and actual policy has not been well explored,” the experts urged studies on how sanctions are implemented so that their effects on crime and on perceptions of the risk of sanctions can be better understood.


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