Crimes considered as violence against women and girls (VAWG), such as sexual violence, domestic abuse, and stalking have devastating consequences. VAWG takes place every day and can have profound long-term effects on survivors and people close to them. It is a topic of even greater public interest following several high-profile cases.
White Ribbon Day is an international call for the prevention and elimination of VAWG. This is followed by the UN’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Last year on White Ribbon Day, we, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), published a research update of our current and future research and publications relating to VAWG. This included detail on:
- our updated VAWG data landscape
- the VAWG dashboard prototype 1.0
- the availability of health data to measure VAWG
- question development to measure harassment in the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW)
- research to redevelop questions on domestic abuse in the CSEW
- the feasibility of developing a survey to measure child abuse
On White Ribbon Day 2021, Meghan Elkin explained in her blog how we worked collaboratively across government and with charities to produce our first analytical article: The lasting impact of violence against women and girls. The article highlighted not only the scale and severity of the problem, but also where there were evidence gaps which we have been working towards addressing since then. It included testimonies from survivors, provided by the charity SafeLives, reminding us that behind each one of these statistics are real women and girls who have experienced abuse.
Using existing Crime Survey for England and Wales figures and working with other government departments, support services and organisations – including the Home Office, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Department of Education, NHS Digital, the Crown Prosecution Service, SafeLives and Women’s Aid – ONS pulled together data which supports the UK Government’s Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. All the evidence found is outlined in the data landscape; this data landscape is being use to feed into this data dashboard.
Our work does not stop here.
Over the next year we will continue to work with stakeholders to improve our measures of violence against women and girls (VAWG) as well as address the key evidence gaps. We will continue work in the following areas:
- reviewing our VAWG terminology to ensure it covers new offences and reflects our users' needs
- developing the VAWG data dashboard by adding new data sources and taking on board the feedback from the prototype
- adding new sources and update reports to the VAWG data landscape
- analysing data on harassment from the year ending March 2023 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) dataset and publishing initial findings
- developing the harassment questions on the CSEW to explore whether it is possible to produce a harassment incidence measure
- improving our collection of data on domestic abuse through inclusion of a new set of questions on the CSEW on a split-sample basis
- developing a child abuse questionnaire and safeguarding procedure ready to pilot as part of phase two of our feasibility study
During the next year we also plan to begin work to look into some of the other evidence gaps we identified including:
- improving the CSEW questions on sexual assault
- exploring the experiences of VAWG for girls under 18 using the Education and Child Health Insights from Linked Data (ECHILD)
- conducting research into young people's attitudes to VAWG
We also have the following upcoming publications planned:
- Sexual offences in England and Wales overview: year ending March 2022 – 23 March 2023
- Developing a new measure of domestic abuse – 5 April 2023
For the VAWG dashboard, we will be collecting feedback on the prototype 1.1, and further developing the dashboard in preparation for the first full release at the end of this year.
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