adjust annual estimates from the core NCVS. Alternatively the design may be able to be fielded as a supplement to the core NCVS or even as part of the core survey.
The evaluation of different designs should take account of the mission of BJS. The panel should be mindful that BJS is responsible for providing estimates of the incidence and prevalence of crimes, and any design recommended must be optimum relative to measuring behavior defined by the law as criminal. In screening for the target behavior, however, broader definitions of the target events may be used in the screening process, but ultimately criminal behavior must be identifiable. The principal population of interest is the noninstitutionalized residential population of the United States. The panel may consider age limits on the target population as survey procedures dictate. Other populations can be accommodated in the optimum design as long as their inclusion does not adversely affect estimates for this principal population or have a large impact on cost. The most important estimates to be obtained from the survey are national-level and change estimates for a specified unit of time. These estimates are designed to be interpreted as risk rates. Annual estimates are typical, but other reference and reporting periods can be considered if appropriate. Change estimates need not be based on consecutive years. The survey should also provide detailed information on the victimization incident, the sequelae of victimization, and the criminal justice and treatment responses.
Finally, the panel is asked to work closely with Westat in field testing the recommended design. Ideally, the panel’s deliberations would be both complete and vetted before a field test would be undertaken, but because of uncertainty regarding funding, the panel’s work and the field test must proceed almost simultaneously. We ask the panel to share its recommendations with Westat and BJS as soon as prudence and the requirements of the deliberation process allow. Westat will proceed with work on the companion design as the panel deliberates. BJS and Westat will incorporate the guidance of the panel into the implementation of the optimum design as the recommendations emerge.2
2As requested by Director Lynch, the panel worked publicly with investigators at Westat, which had been contracted by BJS to develop a pilot project to test two alternative survey designs to measure rape and sexual assault. Westat staff presented the status of their work at each of the panel’s open meetings and participated in open discussion at those meetings with panel members and other participants. Following the June 5-6, 2012, public workshop, several panel members provided individual informal written feedback to Westat on the draft plans that Westat presented at that public workshop. These were not consensus conclusions of the panel. They are provided for the purpose of full disclosure in the Public Assess File. The Westat team and the panel kept each other advised of their project timelines for various activities throughout the process. Following National Research Council policy, there was no sharing of the panel’s deliberations, conclusions, or recommendations with Westat or BJS during the study.