10 January 2019
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has been requested by the Minister for Justice to oversee the development and delivery of a significant new national survey on the prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland.
Commenting on today’s announcement Padraig Dalton, Director General, CSO said:
“As Ireland’s national statistical office, the Central Statistics Office’s (CSO) role is to support research and public policy by producing impartial and robust data reflecting Ireland’s economy, people and society.
In December 2017, at the request of the Minister for Justice, the CSO took part in a working group whose role was to consider the availability of data in relation to sexual violence and make recommendations regarding future requirements. It became clear from the work of this group that there is a societal need for reliable data to assess the extent of the issue and to inform public policy with regard to prevention and response. The result was a consensus on the need for a comprehensive national survey on the prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland.
The CSO has now been charged with undertaking this work, the first stage of which will involve the CSO scoping a means of collecting this sensitive personal data in a manner which is confidential, ethical and designed to support accurate and reliable survey results. In so doing, protecting the privacy and supporting the needs of all involved must be a priority. Conducting this type of highly sensitive survey is a challenging departure for the CSO. In order for the data to be robust, very explicit questions regarding behaviours associated with sexual violence may have to be asked of a number of respondents. As a result, the design and implementation of this survey will require specialist expertise and training. It will involve consultation with key stakeholders and consideration of best practice from international statistical organisations regarding appropriate collection methods as well as identification of the skills, training and structures that may be required to support data gathering in this sensitive area.
Given the complexity and sensitivity of the survey, it is envisaged that the entire process of scoping, planning, executing and reporting on the survey may take in the region of 5 years and exact timelines will only emerge as scoping progresses. The provision of reliable, robust, objective and internationally comparable information requires that the planning and execution of this survey is undertaken in a professional and comprehensive manner. To do otherwise may compromise the quality of the resulting data. Careful planning is also required to ensure that the data collection model also ensures the privacy and safety of the respondent’s and those collecting the data.
The CSO is committed to working with stakeholders both nationally and internationally to design a survey which can both satisfy stakeholder needs and protect and respect all those involved with the survey including respondents.
Further information regarding plans for the survey will be confirmed as they are identified."
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