Each year, the FBI publishes statistics. This year, published rates of intimate partner violence were missing.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) publishes a yearly “Unified Crime Report.” Domestic abuse-related crimes aren’t the only information missing from this year’s report: after a streamlining process, the FBI cut almost 70% of data tables from previous iterations. The Bureau cites this decision as part of a seven year process called the “UCR-Technical Refresh,” wherein they delete tables least viewed online. Typically, these alterations require a review process with a subcommittee of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)’s Advisory Policy Board; this decision, however, occurred without such examination.
Domestic violence organizations such as the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) rely on all relevant domestic-abuse related crime data to track rates of partner violence and the success of their efforts. The information also allows law enforcement, judges, and first responders to understand how to handle instances of domestic violence, in addition to informing the organizations about the natures of the crimes they protect against. In other words, the information omitted from the most recent report has helped organizations to understand “who commits what kind of violence to whom,” according to Kiersten Stewart, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Futures Without Violence.
While the FBI certainly has these numbers available internally, the public accessing them without their publication can be challenging, time-consuming, and fruitless for many organizations who need to focus their energies on helping protect and prevent victims of violence.
So disturbed by the absence of these crime statistics, the Crime and Justice Research Alliance penned a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Stewart, along with representatives from other national domestic organizations, urges the FBI to reconsider their cuts in future years.
“We want to be sure our resources are aligned to the problem. While one year of missing [information] by itself won’t stop us from doing our jobs, if it’s a trend, it becomes a big problem.”
- 05, December 2017. “The FBI Annual Crime Report Cut Out Domestic Violence Data that Helps Organizations Fight Abuse.” Bustle. Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/p/the-fbi-annual-crime-report-cut-out-domestic-violence-data-that-helps-organizations-fight-abuse-6743888