estimates are likely inflated to some unknown degree” (Rand and Rennison, 2005:274). (Response rates in the NVAWS are also much lower than the NCVS, although it is difficult to know what biases might result.) The NCVS records as a single series victimization a group of six or more victimizations that were similar in nature but difficult for the respondent to recall individually. Rand and Rennison (2005:275) estimate that series victimizations account for about 10 percent of violent incidents against women. BJS publications exclude series victimizations from annual estimates. After adjusting for age and crime types and counting the number of incidents among series victimizations, Rand and Rennison (2005) obtained the estimated rates of annual incidence reported in the “Adjusted NCVS” column of Table 3-1.
Despite the adjustment for series victimization, rates of rape and intimate partner assault are lower in the NCVS than in the NVAWS. However, Rand and Rennison (2005:279) found that the difference is statistically significant only in the case of intimate partner assault. The discrepancy between the data sources is largest for intimate partner violence, suggesting that at least part of the divergence may be due to the classification of intimate partners rather than the measurement of victimization.
Research on the NCVS redesign also suggests that measurement of simple assaults (without a weapon resulting in minor injury) also depends closely on the survey instrument. With a broader screening interview that cued respondents to consider events they might not define as crimes, the redesigned survey recorded roughly twice the number of simple assaults than the old NCVS (Lynch, 2002). While it is difficult to gauge whether there is still underreporting of less serious personal crime in the NCVS, research on the redesign underlines the sensitivity of estimates to the survey instrument.
The possibility that such crime types as sexual victimization and domestic violence may still be underreported in the standard personal interview context—despite improvements in cuing and screening—highlights the importance of researching means for incorporating self-response options in the NCVS. These include such approaches as web administration and turning the computer laptop around for parts of an interview so that respondents read and answer some questions without interaction with the interviewer. We discuss these further in Chapter 4.
Repeated victimizations may be underestimated in the NCVS because of the way in which series victimizations are handled. As described in Section C–3.d, NCVS interviewers collect specific information (using an Incident Report form) for each victimization incident reported by a respondent except in instances when six or more very similar incidents occurred within the 6-month reference period. In those cases, a single incident form