It is a nationally representative survey that assesses experiences of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner physical violence, expressive aggression, and control among English and Spanish-speaking women and men, aged 18 years of age and older. This study was first fielded in 2010, and the CDC intends to conduct it on an annual basis.

The NISVS measures both 12-month and lifetime prevalence rates for the specified types of violence. This survey has a public health focus with concern that “unlike most other crimes, intimate partner violence or domestic violence is usually not a sudden, isolated, and unexpected incident. It may involve years of emotional and psychological trauma as well as physical injuries, which may become increasingly more severe and occur frequently over time” (Office for Victims of Crime, n.d.).


The data collection for the NISVS was conducted by RTI International for the CDC. Like the sample design for the NVAWS and the NCWSV, discussed above, the NISVS sample design uses RDD technology to reach the target population. Unlike the other two surveys, however, the sampling frame for this study includes both landline and cell phones.

The first survey was conducted in 50 states and the District of Columbia from January 22 through December 31, 2010. A total of 18,049 interviews were conducted (9,970 women and 8,079 men) targeting the U.S. non-institutionalized population aged 18 years of age and older. This includes 16,507 completed and 1,542 partially completed interviews. A total of 9,086 females and 7,421 males completed the survey. Approximately 45.2 percent of interviews were conducted from the landline telephone frame and 54.8 percent of interviews were conducted from the cell phone frame. Advance letters were sent to approximately 50 percent of the landline sample addresses (obtained by using reverse address matching to the telephone numbers). The survey used only female interviewers. The overall weighted response rate in NISVS ranged from 27.5 to 33.6 percent.14 The cooperation rate was 81.3 percent.

The NISVS 2010 Summary Report included estimates for five different categories of sexual victimizations including completed and attempted rape (see Box 5-1). Questions used to measure 12-month prevalence were unbounded by a previous survey or event. Respondents were first asked


14This range in response rates reflects the differences in how the proportion of unknowns that might have been eligible but not interviewed is estimated, as applied in AAPOR response rate computation standards. These variations each handle “unknowns” (phone numbers that were never answered) differently. Assumptions are made based on respondents with known eligibility status for the survey.

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