Victim Survey Undercounts Sex Crimes; New Method Urged


Think Progress reports that the U.S. Department of Justice's annual National Crime Victimization Survey probably underestimates the number of sexual crimes that actually occur in the U.S. It cites a new report by the National Research Council, commissioned by the Justice Department, that concludes that incidences of rape probably are currently being undercounted in the annual survey.

Researchers say the survey, which is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau using a random sample of households, likely provides an incomplete snapshot of sexual assault because it could be missing significant populations of the country that are especially at risk, such as college women, residents of shelters for battered women and mental care outpatients. The researchers suggested that officials remove sexual crimes from the broader victimization survey and conduct a separate survey that focuses on sexual violence.

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