[quote=Elena Fries-Tersch Milieu]
We would like to ask Andrada from the WAVE network specifically: do you think the indicators on IPV (the general one and possibly also the specific ones) could be populated with social services data? How do you see the potential of social services data for this? Our research showed that quite a few Member States collect data from social services nation-wide, but there is of course the problem that they have different types of social services and different target groups. Do you have any suggestions for adaptation of the indicator for social services' data?
Apologies for the late reply but I have been caught up with work at the office. In any case I have consulted my colleagues, and this would be our suggestions:
For the general indicator, we envision the following challenges and some ways to mitigate them:
1. Social services would have to be defined more narrowly and I imagine a coordinating body would have to be in charge of collecting these data from a pre-defined number of social services. Important to consider would be whether general services such as legal aid offices or employment agencies, or specialist services like national women’s helplines, shelters.
2. One should be careful with the “as a share of the total population of women” because it may lead to troublesome interpretation, when comparison between countries is attempted. If a smaller percent accesses services in Romania as opposed to in another country, it may be indicative of a lack of awareness about services, the times the services are available (e.g. 24/7, not 24/7), availability of staff, among others. A helpline in a country with similar population may have significantly different number of callers depending on staffing and opening times. Furthermore, shelter capacity differs per country, in terms of the number of beds or family places available, the stay allowance (e.g. some shelters allow for up to 12 months, while others only 3 months), which will all impact the number of victims that are supported, and distort the ability for clean comparison.
3. The method of service provision may impact numbers. For example, some helplines may provide telephone service and also chat or advice via e-mail. Some centres conduct outreach, whereas others require victims to physically visit the establishment.
4. For a helpline, which is by nature and according to international standards required to be confidential, it is not likely that data on age will be collected.
5. Specialist women’s services are not always funded in a stable fashion to make sure they operate continuously. Not only can the hours of operation for a helpline change from one year to the next, shelters and centres can also close year to year, and new ones can open. In some cases, in one year, within a network of women’s shelters in any given country, the number of shelters feeding national level data may change.
6. Always keep in mind that services deal with repeat clients, but due to confidentiality this may not always be recorded.
7. It will be important to allow for quantitative data to be supported with some qualitative feedback to provide the context within which service provision exists, to allow for some preliminary explanation for the data.
The number of incidents reported to anyone varies due to cultural differences – e.g. in some countries it is easier to admit to IPV than in others, this distorts the picture of “what is really going on”. And differences in legal frameworks can also impact e.g. some countries have Emergency Barring Orders which allow some women to deal with IPV in a different way and how the police use the legislation on Emergency Barring Orders varies enormously (see page 86 of WAVE 2015 Report). This could impact on how many women approach a shelter for accommodation, how could this variation be allowed for. Finally, the amount of resources a woman has impacts on how she can cope with IPV e.g. if she is able to rent private accommodation and pay for a therapist, she may never approach any social services for help. Similarly, if she has an extensive support network she may not approach any social services. Just counting who approaches services shifts the focus of the picture towards women with fewer resources (poorer women & possibly migrant women).