The revised U.S. Department of Justice methodology for tracking violent crimes has resulted in data that more accurately reflects the rates of gender-based crimes against American women, says Women’s eNews. New data released Dec. 18 as part of the Bureau of Justice Statistics annual Crime Victimization Survey indicate much higher rates of sexual assault and domestic violence in 2007 compared to data from 2006. The methodology changes included more personal interviews, increasing interviews in rural areas and new sampling methods.
The report showed a 42 percent increase in domestic violence and a 25 percent increase in rape and sexual assault. A drop in the numbers of men killed by intimate partners was reported. Anti-violence advocates have long complained that federal crime data, whether drawn from police reports or telephone surveys, under-report the rates of violent crimes against women. Human Rights Watch has called on the Obama administration to appoint a special advisor on domestic violence; increase funding for treatment, prevention, and intervention programs; conduct authoritative studies; and take other measures to address violent crime.