The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability was established in April 2019 in response to mounting evidence that people with disability experience high and sustained levels of violence and abuse.
To understand the extent and magnitude of this problem and to address these widespread issues requires high-quality, representative longitudinal data on the extent, nature, causes, impacts, prevalence and incidence of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability. However, there is currently no comprehensive strategy or framework that would allow sufficient, reliable and enduring capture of these data in Australia.
The first step is to identify existing data assets that can be used for immediate research to inform policy and to reveal data gaps to inform future data collection or augmentation strategies.
This compendium was produced as part of a University of Melbourne research project titled Violence against people with disabilities: maximising the use of data to inform the Royal Commission. It aims to:
- comprehensively describe and compare national and state/territory datasets that include both disability and violence data;
- identify data that is readily available for research and other potentially valuable sources of data that are currently not accessible but may help fill knowledge gaps through future research;
- demonstrate how these datasets have (if at all) been used for research in this area;
- indicate the strengths and weaknesses of each dataset, including limitations in the data due to how it is collected;
- examine whether there is potential to improve datasets using data linkage.
Improving access to these data for research will enable up-to-date estimates of the prevalences of violence and abuse among people with disability, a better understanding of these issues with respect to various forms of violence and types and severity of disability, and identification of key factors (e.g. socio-demographic and spatial differences) that influence these patterns.
Improving knowledge in these areas is critical for reducing violence and abuse directed at people with disability.
The compendium is aimed at two audiences:
For academics and researchers investigating disability and violence, this compendium describes currently accessible data sources and who to contact for access, outlines key dataset characteristics that will help determine their suitability to address particular research questions, identifies examples of their use for research in violence and disability, and highlights key findings.
For government and policy makers, this compendium provides a map of key Australian data resources and could be used to allocate investments to improve their accessibility for research.