On 20th November 2018 the Government approved a new national survey on the prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland. Following this, the Department of Justice and Equality and the Central Statistics Office signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 10th January 2019 regarding the undertaking of the survey.
The CSO have now begun the work on the large scale survey, called the Sexual Violence Survey (SVS), which will look in detail at the experience of sexual violence and abuse for both women and men in Ireland, with repeat surveys every decade.
This is a large and complex survey. The Government’s expert Scoping Group report made clear that delivering a survey that met the highest standards would be a significant undertaking and a multi-annual project.
I am aware that some concern has been expressed about how long it will take to complete the survey. A priority of mine is that it be done right. We want to ensure that the State undertakes an ongoing programme of research of the highest quality in a sensitive and ethical way to ensure a robust set of data to inform Government policy. The complexities and timeframes involved have been acknowledged by some of the NGOs involved in the sector.
The CSO has provided an estimated timeline of up to five years for completion including a full first year of technical research, design, specialist training and preparation. The preparatory phase will also involve a stakeholder consultation process, consideration of best international practice and the conducting of a full pilot survey in the field in 2020.
The CSO has indicated it will be in a position to give further certainty on completion date, timelines and costs after it finalises its preliminary work in 2019. The provision of reliable, robust, objective and internationally comparable information requires that the planning and execution of this survey is undertaken in a professional and comprehensive manner and to do otherwise may compromise the quality of the resulting data. Therefore, the planned duration of the new Sexual Violence Survey (SVS) is to ensure that all aspects of the survey are undertaken and completed to the highest possible standard.
Funding of €150,000 has been provided for the work in 2019 and there is agreement in principle to fund the rest of the project.