Dáil Éireann - Volume 597 - 16 February, 2005

Written Answers. - Crime Victimisation Survey.

  76. Ms McManus asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when the promised new national crime victimisation survey will commence; the person by whom it will be carried out; the frequency with which it will be undertaken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4934/05]

  Mr. McDowell: In July 2003, the Government approved my proposal that a regular national crime victimisation survey be carried out biennially as a valuable and useful complement to the information on crime already available, which includes the Garda Commissioner’s annual report and the headline crime figures which I publish on an annual and quarterly basis. Such surveys would provide a more comprehensive perspective on crime victimisation than is currently available and when undertaken on a regular basis, would provide useful information on emerging trends in crime and so provide input into developing strategies to combat crime.

The expert group on crime statistics, which I established and the report of which I published in July 2004, recommended the establishment of a central crime statistics unit, which would, inter alia, examine the collation of information relating to crimes reported to and recorded by the gardaí, examine the collation of information relating to other crimes where the Garda Síochána is not the prosecuting authority, identify the needs of key stakeholders within the criminal justice system and the wider research community and publish criminal justice statistics, based initially on the Garda Síochána PULSE data. I accepted the recommendation that such a unit be established and work is under way on establishing it within the Central Statistics Office.

The report of the expert group strongly endorsed the Government decision to conduct biennial national crime victimisation surveys and recommended that the unit be responsible for overseeing the national crime victimisation sur[1755] vey and involved in its design and planning. I also accepted this recommendation and work on the survey will be undertaken by the unit as part of its duties.

I understand from the Central Statistics Office that a crime and victimisation survey is to be carried out, either via a dedicated survey or a module of the quarterly national household survey, QNHS, in 2006. This latter approach has previously been used in both 1998 and 2003. The Central Statistics Office expects that dedicated crime and victimisation surveys will be carried out in 2008 and biennially thereafter.

I also understand that the Central Statistics Office intends to develop these surveys in a way that will maximise their utility and their coherence with other administrative data available in the criminal justice system. It is important to note that the data that will result from these surveys will not be directly comparable to the crime statistics based on data recorded by the Garda Síochána as there will be fundamental differences in sources, definitions and classification methodology.