error, specification error, imperfect sampling frames, nonresponse, measurement error, and error in data processing. For each of these error types, the panel has evaluated the potential to generate errors in estimates of rape and sexual assault so that solutions could be identified.
Chapter 9 summarizes the analyses from Chapters 7 and 8, clarifying which potential errors may have the largest effects on the reported estimates. The chapter specifically identifies four major obstacles for accurately estimating incidents of rape and sexual assault in the current NCVS, which are the basis for the panel’s conclusions and recommendations in Chapter 10. The chapter also includes four recommendations for BJS.
Chapter 10 details the panel’s conclusion that the NCVS is not an adequate vehicle for the goal of accurate measurement and presents the panel’s recommendations for best practices, including a recommendation for a separate survey to measure rape and sexual assault victimizations. It provides guidelines on the optimum design of this new survey, as well as lower-cost variations. It also includes recommendations for specialized training and monitoring, research, and enhanced communication with data users.
Of special note, this report uses the terms “low incidence” and “statistically rare” to describe the criminal victimizations of rape and sexual assault because the frequency with which they occur makes them difficult to measure in a household population survey. The report explores a number of statistical practices that better measure rare attributes in a population. The panel’s position is that these victimizations are critically important to measure accurately and the terms “low incidence” or “statistically rare” do not diminish that importance.