Hidden from survey data – women on the move

Many of the statistics you might hear quoted about domestic violence are from surveys.  In Britain, this may be particularly the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey and the Crime Survey of England and Wales.


However, these surveys are asked of a sample of people from a household register – so specifically exclude anyone who is on the move, in temporary accommodation, staying with friends or family, staying in a women’s refuge…


So the survey data you hear quoted has systematically excluded anyone on the move because of domestic violence – the statistics on domestic violence are actually excluding some of the women most affected by domestic violence…


It’s a problem.


It’s one of the reasons why this ‘Women on the Move’ research uses administrative data about people accessing temporary accommodation because of domestic violence.  Next week at the Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN) annual conference in Edinburgh there will be a presentation about using administrative data as a safe way to research these hidden domestic violence journeys.  See http://www.adrn2017.net/agenda.html


For a discussion about how surveys could better measure violence, see an article in the new ‘Journal of Gender-Based Violence’ (http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/tpp/jgbv) where Sylvia Walby and Jude Towers highlight the “long-standing concern as to the exclusion of those who are, temporarily, not staying in their permanent place of residence, since this may be a result of domestic violence”. (Walby and Towers, 2017: 17).


You will also see a new article about this ‘Women on the Move’ research – about how policy and practice can further fragment women’s domestic violence journeys (Bowstead, 2017).



Bowstead JC. 2017. Segmented journeys, fragmented lives: Women’s forced migration to escape domestic violence. Journal of Gender-Based Violence 1: 43–58 DOI: 10.1332/239868017X14912933953340

Walby S, Towers J. 2017. Measuring violence to end violence: mainstreaming gender. Journal of Gender-Based Violence 1: 11–31 DOI: 10.1332/239868017X14913081639155