The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has hired Westat to test different methods for collecting self-reports of sexual assault, a crime that has proved difficult to measure in surveys and whose prevalence rate across the country is unclear.
To get accurate information about sexual violence, a survey needs to ask respondents a wide range of questions.
- We are developing an audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI) system for collecting data on sexual assault. The system allows women to answer questions directly on a computer, without having to speak to a person.
- We will compare the ACASI system to telephone (random digit dialing [RDD]) data collection by surveying 3 groups of women
- Young women recruited online and through universities
- Victims of rape or sexual assault recruited through advocacy centers
- A randomly selected group of women
- Our research will help researchers
- Evaluate the accuracy, utility, and costs of the different methods of collecting data on sexual assault
- Understand differences in responses using different methodologies
- This information will
- Help improve government estimates of sexual assaults
- Lead to better estimates that policymakers and others can use to make better decisions