One of the main issues in the sociology and humanitarian sciences is the problem of statistics’ accuracy. The collected data is usually ambivalent and might be even quite subjective. In the family violence subject the main sources of data used to identify the abused individuals have also its limitations and inconsistencies with the reality. The main sources of data collection include official resources, based on the number of cases reported and investigated in the legal system; annual surveys concerning incidence rates, conducted by semi-official organizations or NGOs; and there are also lifetime estimations, which are practically interviews and surveys which indicate past abusing (Barnett, Miller-Perrin & Perrin 41). From the legal perspective, abused individuals can be identified by personal complaint, neighbors’ witnessing of the actual abuse conduct or when undeniable evidences are present. In any case, without victim’s official suit in the law enforcement facility, no legal procedure can follow. That is why the official statistics are far from the real number of family violence practices. This inconsistency of data makes it difficult to conduct valid and reliable research in the target field. Another reason for this is that there is no unified notion-categorical apparatus used for all data collection resources. For instance, when referring to the child abuse, the abuse usually refers to the act of physical or sexual violence conducted by an adult family member. On the other hand, cases when the same act was conducted by an under-aged family member or a stranger are usually excluded from the general statistics and can be found in other surveys or be missed at all. Being a very personal issue, family violence is usually kept in secret and is remained within the family; thus, even social surveys are unable to collect the reliable information about family violence. Subsequently, while doing a research in the field, the collected data is analyzed conditionally and on case-to-case basis. Therefore, sociological study of the topic has to apply interdisciplinary approach in order to get the whole scope of the issue and understand what is hidden behind the official data, what might be the real numbers and how the situation can be improved (Barnett, Miller-Perrin & Perrin 30).
Barnett, O.W., Miller-Perrin, C.L. & Perrin, R.D. Family Violence Across the Lifespan: An
Introduction. 2nd ed. London: Sage. 2004. Print.