2008 Reporting Changes for Domestic Violence Data
The Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) began to collect data on domestic offenses in 1979 through the state’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. Data were collected on the following offenses: aggravated assaults, simple assaults, sex offenses, other offenses, and violation of protective orders. The victim/offender relationships were categorized as: wife by husband, husband by wife, child by parent, parent by child, other family, common law wife by husband, and common law husband by wife. Over time, it became apparent that these categories were insufficient to provide a true picture of domestic violence in New York.
Working with DCJS’ Office of Public Safety (OPS) and the state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV), DCJS identified the following deficiencies in the original UCR reporting protocol:
- Incidents involving intimate partners who were not married, as well as incidents involving ex-spouses, were not being counted by most agencies.
- Same-sex intimate partner violence was not being counted.
- The “other offense” category was being used inconsistently by law enforcement agencies. Some agencies were only counting true violent crimes such as menacing or reckless endangerment, while other agencies included crimes that did not involve violence.
- Reporting practices varied from agency to agency.
Major Revisions to Domestic Violence Reporting
In 2008, DCJS revised domestic violence reporting procedures to improve the quality of data to inform policy decisions in this important area.
- Expanded Definition of “Domestic Relationship-Living Status” - Consistent with the Family Court definition in place as of July 2008, “domestic relationship” was expanded to include all persons who are currently, or were previously, involved in a significant intimate or dating relationship, regardless of whether or not they previously lived together.
- Expanded Definition of “Domestic Relationship-Spouses/Intimate Partners” - The victim definition was expanded to include both current and former spouses, common law spouses, and boyfriends/girlfriends. The expanded definition also explicitly defined same-sex partners as a domestic relationship.
- Clarified Qualifying “Domestic Violence Offenses” - The new reporting requirements continued to collect aggravated and simple assaults, sex offenses and violations of protective orders. In addition, the instructions clarified that other offenses should include only the crimes of murder, kidnapping, coercion, and endangering the welfare of a child.
These important changes will ensure that policymakers will have accurate and consistent data on all victims of domestic violence in New York State. In early 2010, the 2009 domestic violence statistics will be posted on this website. For more detail on domestic violence reporting and the impact these changes have on official crime statistics, see Improving Domestic Violence Data in New York State: An Explanation of 2008 Reporting Changes.