Why a family violence report?
Family violence takes place behind closed doors and is most often only made visible through a traumatic report of an incident or a court case in the news. Concrete data about the extent of family violence tends to be scattered across state agencies, divided by the age of the victim, and separated by the nature of the crime. The Violence at Home: The FACT Report is a repository for data on family violence across Virginia. First developed in 2010, the report is a compilation of family violence indicators across the lifespan, including data on children, families and older adults.
Drawing from data collected over almost a decade, the report’s findings are based on 21 social indicators and broken down by eight regions. Studies conducted by both George Mason University (pdf) and Virginia Commonwealth University (pdf) provided the groundwork for this report.
How can I use the data?
The FACT Report can be used to educate others on the extent and scope of family violence, draw attention and resources to local and state needs, and help focus efforts where they are needed most. Other uses might included:
- Learn about the state of family violence in specific localities and across Virginia
- Identify and monitor family violence trends over time
- Set benchmarks and develop strategies that will target specific family violence indicators
- Raise community awareness and garner support to combat family violence in your community
- Inform decision-makers about policy and program changes that comprehensively address family violence
- Generate discussions and information sharing amongst community partners regarding innovative responses that prevent and address family violence
Indicators of Family Violence
The FACT Report relies on consistent, accurate and accessible data. The criteria for choosing the social indicators in the report include the following:
- Is the indicator a good proxy for family violence?
- Does the indicator convey an increased understanding of family violence to the public?
- Can the indicator be tracked in most localities?
- Is the indicator reliable and valid?
- Does the indicator exist in a data source that is available on an annual basis?
- Does the indicator allow FACT to track progress over time?
Over 160 indicators were originally generated through extensive research by scholars at George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University. FACT selected the indicators reflected in the report after statewide outreach and discussions with stakeholders. In addition, FACT spearheaded an Editorial and Planning Committee that meets annually to provide input to each year’s report.
To view the current FACT Report indicators please visit the Family Violence Indicator Local Data Tool.
The indicator data from the FACT Report comes from seven state agencies and two federal agencies. In addition, FACT uses data from the US Census and the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for population numbers. Sources include:
- Supreme Court of Virginia
- United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
- United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
- Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development
- Virginia Department of Social Services
- Virginia Office of the Attorney General
- Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
- Virginia State Police