Worker and Family Assistance:

Prevalence of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, and Stalking

GAO-07-148R: Published: Nov 13, 2006. Publicly Released: Nov 13, 2006.

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In hearings conducted between 1990 and 1994, Congress noted that violence against women was a problem of national scope and that the majority of crimes associated with domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking were perpetrated against women. These hearings culminated in the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994 to address these issues on a national level. VAWA established grant programs within the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) for state, local, and Indian tribal governments and communities. These grants have various purposes, such as providing services to victims and training for law enforcement officers and prosecutors. The 2006 reauthorization of VAWA expanded existing grant programs and added new programs addressing, among other things, young victims, the housing and economic needs of victims, and the health care system's response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Although criminal justice, health, and domestic violence experts believe that valid and reliable estimates have the potential to be of use to policy makers, service providers, and researchers, there are concerns that current crime statistics do not provide a full assessment of the problem. The Violence Against Women and DOJ Reauthorization Act of 2005, enacted January 5, 2006, requires GAO to conduct a study and report on data indicating the prevalence of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking among men, women, youth, and children, as well as services available to these victims. We developed two objectives to respond to this mandate: (1) To what extent do national data collection efforts report prevalence of men, women, youth, and children who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, and (2) What support services (e.g., counseling, medical, legal, etc.) are available to victims of these categories of crime and what are the number and characteristics of victims receiving these services by type of service. This report addresses the first objective. Our work on the second objective is ongoing.

Since 2001, the amount of national research that has been conducted on the prevalence of domestic violence and sexual assault has been limited, and even less research has been conducted on dating violence and stalking. No single, comprehensive effort currently exists that provides nationwide statistics on the prevalence of these four categories of crime among men, women, youth, and children. Rather, various national efforts address certain subsets of these crime categories among some segments of the population. Some of these national data collection efforts focus largely on incidence--the number of separate times a crime is committed against individuals during a specific time period--rather than prevalence--the unique number of individuals who were victimized during a specific time period. Obtaining both incidence and prevalence data is important for determining services to provide to victims of crimes. In addition, HHS noted that both types of data are important for determining the impact of violence and strategies to prevent it from occurring. The national data collection efforts we reviewed cannot provide a basis for combining their results to compute valid and reliable nationwide prevalence estimates because the efforts use varying definitions. Further, the national data collection efforts we reviewed cannot provide a basis for combining their results to compute valid and reliable nationwide prevalence estimates because the efforts have varying scopes in terms of the incidents and categories of victims that are included. Although perfect data may never exist because of the sensitivity of these crimes and the likelihood that not all occurrences will be disclosed, initiatives are under way to provide additional information related to the prevalence of these issues. In addition to these efforts, under an Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) grant, the University of New Hampshire is planning to conduct the National Study on Children's Exposure to Violence. If these efforts are completed as planned, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and DOJ will make progress in collecting information needed to determine the extent to which men, women, youth, and children are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. However, some information gaps will remain, particularly in the areas of dating violence among victims age 12 and older and stalking among victims under age 18. To cost-effectively address information gaps, it is important to consider additional costs that would be incurred in collecting new or different data as well as the usefulness of such data. It is equally important to consider the benefits resulting from the use of these data (different allocations of resources) and the availability of funds to collect such data (a cost-benefit analysis).

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: To provide Congress and agency decision makers with more comprehensive information on the prevalence of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking to assist them in making policy decisions on grants and other issues associated with these four categories of crime, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shold collaboratively to the extent possible, require the use of common definitions when conducting or providing grants for federal research to leverage individual collection efforts so that the results of such efforts can be readily combined to achieve nationwide prevalence estimates.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In 2006, we undertook a study to determine the extent to which national data collection efforts report on the prevalence of men, women, youth, and children who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. We reported that the national data collection efforts we reviewed could not provide a basis for combining their results to compute valid and reliable nationwide prevalence estimates because the estimates use varying definitions. As a result, we recommended that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) should collaboratively, to the extent possible, require the use of common definitions when conducting or providing grants for federal research to leverage individual collection efforts so that the results of such efforts can be readily combined to achieve nationwide prevalence estimates. In September 2010, officials from HHS's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that CDC continues to encourage, but not require the use of its uniform intimate partner violence and sexual violence definitions by all federal and non-federal entities involved in surveillance of sexual violence or intimate partner violence that CDC originally published in 1999 and 2002 respectively. To address this recommendation, CDC officials said that they convened a panel of experts in October 2010 to revise these uniform definitions. The panel also included teen dating violence in its discussions of common definitions and provided recommendations to CDC. CDC officials stated that they are currently reviewing the results from that panel and plan to hold a second panel in 2012 to review the first panel's results and to obtain consensus on the revised definitions. CDC officials also said that they are also encouraging the use of uniform definitions by instituting the ongoing National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey which is using consistent definitions and methods to produce annual prevalence estimates at the state and national level. Thus, by using consistent methods over time, CDC officials said that they will have comparable data at the state and national level to inform intervention and prevention efforts and aid in the evaluation of these efforts. Moreover, CDC officials said that stakeholders engaged in other data collection efforts, such as the Bureau of Justice Statistics and states (e.g., Alaska and Texas) are taking their efforts on this system into consideration while designing their studies that should improve overall comparability among studies. While over time these efforts might aid in providing comparable data across state and national levels, it is is too early to assess their effectiveness in doing so. Therefore, this recommendation is closed as not implemented.

    Recommendation: To provide Congress and agency decision makers with more comprehensive information on the prevalence of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking to assist them in making policy decisions on grants and other issues associated with these four categories of crime, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shold collaboratively incorporate such alternatives deemed cost-effective in future budget requests.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In 2006, we undertook a study to determine the extent to which national data collection efforts report on the prevalence of men, women, youth, and children who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. As part of this effort, we reported that the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Justice (DOJ) had several initiatives underway to provide additional information related to the prevalence of these issues. We also reported that, even if these efforts are completed as planned, some information gaps will remain, particularly in the areas of dating violence among victims age 12 and older and stalking among victims under age 18. Thus, we recommended that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services collaboratively identify and evaluate alternatives for addressing any remaining gaps and incorporate such alternatives deemed cost-effective in future budget requests. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) began efforts on a teen dating violence prevention initiative known as "Dating Matters." One activity under this initiative is to identify community-level indicators that can be used to measure teen dating violence and related stalking in high-risk urban communities to help address information gaps. CDC officials reported that they plan to begin implementing the first phase of this initiative in as many as four high-risk urban areas in September 2011 and expect that the results from this phase will be completed by 2016. In the interim, HHS provided $300,000 to DOJ in fiscal years in 2009 and 2010 respectively to support the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP) efforts to conduct and update a nationwide survey of the incidence and prevalence of children's (ages 17 and younger) exposure to violence across several major categories including witnessing domestic violence and peer victimization (which includes teen dating violence). OJJDP subsequently released incidence and prevalence measures related to children's exposure to violence, including teen dating violence in 2009. Thus, Congress, agency decision makers, practitioners, and researchers have more comprehensive information to assist them in making decisions on grants and other issues to help address problems faced with teen dating violence. HHS did not separately request additional funding to support this initiative in its budget, but HHS officials reported using $300,000 of HHS's discretionary funds to support the initiative in both fiscal years 2009 and 2010.

    Recommendation: To provide Congress and agency decision makers with more comprehensive information on the prevalence of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking to assist them in making policy decisions on grants and other issues associated with these four categories of crime, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shold collaboratively incorporate such alternatives deemed cost-effective in future budget requests.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In 2006, we undertook a study to determine the extent to which national data collection efforts report on the prevalence of men, women, youth, and children who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. As part of this effort, we reported that the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Justice (DOJ) had several initiatives under way to provide additional information related to the prevalence of these issues. We also reported that, even if these efforts are completed as planned, some information gaps will remain, particularly in the areas of dating violence among victims age 12 and older and stalking among victims under age 18. Thus, we recommended that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services collaboratively identify and evaluate alternatives for addressing any remaining gaps and incorporate such alternatives deemed cost-effective in future budget requests. In its January 11, 2007, letter to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, DOJ reported that the National Crime Victimization Survey was undergoing an evaluation by the Committee on National Statistics of the National Academies. DOJ also reported that it anticipated receiving recommendations from the Committee on National Statistics in early 2008 that would include suggestions for improving the survey's questionnaire, including the possibility of adding new crime categories (such as teen dating violence) to the survey (as we recommended). In August 2008, DOJ officials explained that the Committee's recommendations focused on areas that would require additional DOJ research before any modifications to the questionnaire could be completed. DOJ officials said that they plan to work closely with technical and subject-matter experts, including individuals from HHS, during the redesign of the National Crime Victimization Survey. In February 2011, DOJ officials stated that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in conjunction with DOJ and the Department of Defense, were conducting a survey to collect information on intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking victimization. The results are expected to be available in October 2011. DOJ officials said that they plan to use the results of this survey to help inform their redesign of the National Crime Victimization Survey and to determine what, if any, additional funding is needed for the redesign in response to our recommendation. Nevertheless, DOJ has requested funding annually since 2006 to support the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP) efforts in collaboration with CDC, to conduct and update a nationwide survey of the incidence and prevalence of children's (ages 17 and younger) exposure to violence across several major categories including witnessing domestic violence and peer victimization (which includes teen dating violence). OJJDP subsequently released incidence and prevalence measures related to children's exposure to violence, including teen dating violence in 2009. Thus, Congress, agency decision makers, practitioners, and researchers have more comprehensive information to assist them in making decisions on grants and other issues to help address problems faced with teen dating violence. In regards to addressing information gaps related to stalking victims under the age of 18, DOJ said is assessed how it could obtain this information, but determined it first had to resolve data reliability issues related to victims over the age of 18 and has determined that funding is not available at this time for additional research related to identifying the prevalence of stalking among teen victims.

    Recommendation: To provide Congress and agency decision makers with more comprehensive information on the prevalence of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking to assist them in making policy decisions on grants and other issues associated with these four categories of crime, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shold collaboratively identify and evaluate alternatives for addressing any remaining gaps

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In 2006, we undertook a study to determine the extent to which national data collection efforts report on the prevalence of men, women, youth, and children who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. As part of this effort, we reported that the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Justice had several initiatives underway to provide additional information related to the prevalence of these issues. We also reported that, even if these efforts are completed as planned, some information gaps will remain, particularly in the areas of dating violence among victims age 12 and older and stalking among victims under age 18. Thus, we recommended that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services collaboratively identify and evaluate alternatives for addressing any remaining gaps. In response to this recommendation, HHS reported that it collaborated with DOJ to jointly sponsor a workshop on teen dating violence in December 2007 and is using the results from this workshop (that is, identification of gaps in available research on teen dating violence) to help inform its work. Such gaps identified included working on the measurement of teen dating violence. Specifically, themes from the workshop included that there were problems with using research and experiences with adult domestic violence victims and applying those experiences to teens. To address such gaps, DOJ's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sponsored a nationwide survey of the incidence and prevalence of children's (ages 17 and younger) exposure to violence across several major categories including witnessing domestic violence and peer victimization (which includes teen dating violence). OJJDP released incidence and prevalence measures related to children's exposure to violence, including teen dating violence, in 2009. Thus, Congress, agency decision makers, practitioners, and researchers have more comprehensive information to assist them in making decisions on grants and other issues to help address problems faced with teen dating violence. Finally, in 2010, CDC began efforts on a teen dating violence prevention initiative (known as "Dating Matters"). One activity under this initiative is to identify community-level indicators that can be used to measure teen dating violence and related stalking in high-risk urban communities. CDC officials reported that they plan to begin implementing the first phase of this initiative in as many as four high-risk urban areas in September 2011 and expect that the results from this phase will be completed by 2016.

    Recommendation: To provide Congress and agency decision makers with more comprehensive information on the prevalence of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking to assist them in making policy decisions on grants and other issues associated with these four categories of crime, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shold collaboratively identify and evaluate alternatives for addressing any remaining gaps

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In 2006, we undertook a study to determine the extent to which national data collection efforts report on the prevalence of men, women, youth, and children who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. As part of this effort, we reported that the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Justice (DOJ) had several initiatives under way to provide additional information related to the prevalence of these issues. We also reported that, even if these efforts are completed as planned, information gaps will remain, particularly in the areas of dating violence among victims ages 12 and older and stalking among victims under age 18. Thus, we recommended that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services collaboratively identify and evaluate alternatives for addressing these gaps. In response, DOJ reported that it would consider two alternatives to obtain information for measuring the extent to which teens are victims of dating violence. Specifically, it reported that it would (1) add questions to its National Crime Victimization Survey questionnaire to clarify the relationship of victimized teens to the offender or (2) develop a supplement to measure teen dating violence. In 2007, DOJ initiated a plan to redesign this survey and, as such, would consider adding questions related to teen dating violence. In February 2011, DOJ officials stated that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in conjunction with DOJ and the Department of Defense, were conducting a survey to collect information on intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking victimization. The results are expected to be available in October 2011 and DOJ officials plan to use the results of this survey to inform their redesign of the National Crime Victimization Survey and determine whether to add questions related to topics, such as the prevalence of teen dating violence. Implementation of the redesigned survey is not expected to occur until at least 2014. DOJ also reported conducting analyses of data collected from other mechanisms to address existing gaps. In 2007, DOJ reported analyzing a file of approximately 900,000 protection orders (i.e., a form of legal injunction that restrains one party from taking certain acts against another) maintained by its National Crime Information Center (NCIC). NCIC is a computerized index of criminal justice information such as information on fugitives, stolen property or, missing persons. However, DOJ reported that after analyzing the file, it determined that it was not feasible to obtain information on the prevalence of domestic violence from this source because (1) there were no common identifiers among states to link the protection orders to available domestic violence cases or (2) specific information on teen dating violence and stalking. DOJ also analyzed data from state court processing statistics and criminal history files to determine what information was available on the prevalence of teen dating and stalking violence. DOJ completed this action in March of 2008. However, the results of this effort did not include age information on offenders' victims, the relationship between the victim and the offender, and the data were not nationwide. Nevertheless, DOJ's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in collaboration with CDC sponsored a nationwide survey of the incidence and prevalence of children's (ages 17 and younger) exposure to violence across several major categories including peer victimization (which includes teen dating violence). OJJDP released incidence and prevalence measures related to children's exposure to violence, including teen dating violence, in 2009 which addresses our recommendation. Thus, Congress, agency decision makers, and others have more comprehensive information to assist them in making decisions on grants and other issues to help address problems faced with teen dating violence.

    Recommendation: To provide Congress and agency decision makers with more comprehensive information on the prevalence of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking to assist them in making policy decisions on grants and other issues associated with these four categories of crime, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shold collaboratively determine the extent to which initiatives being planned or under way can be designed or modified to address existing information gaps.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In 2006, we undertook a study to determine the extent to which national data collection efforts report on the prevalence of men, women, youth, and children who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. As part of this effort, we reported that the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Justice (DOJ) had several initiatives underway to provide additional information related to the prevalence of these issues. We also reported that even if these efforts were completed as planned, some information gaps would remain, particularly in the areas of dating violence among victims age 12 and older and stalking among victims under age 18. Thus, we recommended that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services collaboratively determine the extent to which initiatives being planned or underway can be designed or modified to address existing information gaps. In September 2010, HHS reported that its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was working in collaboration with the National Institute of Justice to develop the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Specifically, HHS reported that, through this system, CDC is collecting information on women and men's experiences with a range of intimate partner, sexual violence, and stalking victimization. HHS reported that CDC is gathering experiences that occurred across a victim's lifespan (including experience that occurred before the age of 18) and will generate incidence and prevalence estimates for intimate partner violence, sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking victimization at both the national and state levels. In response to our recommendation, CDC reported that it added questions that specifically address teen dating violence and stalking that occurred before the age of 18 in the related survey instrument. The results are expected to be available in October 2011. While this survey is gathering information on a victim's experiences retrospectively, it is important to note that it is not being administered to people under age 18. Therefore, even if this effort is completed as planned, it will not fully address prevalence rates related to teen dating violence and stalking. In 2010, CDC also began efforts on a teen dating violence prevention initiative known as "Dating Matters." One activity of this initiative is to identify community-level indicators that can be used to measure teen dating violence and stalking in high-risk urban areas. CDC officials reported that they plan to begin implementing the first phase of "Dating Matters" in as many as four high-risk urban areas in September 2011 and expect that the results from this phase will be completed by 2016. In the meantime, DOJ's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in collaboration with CDC, sponsored a nationwide survey of the incidence and prevalence of children's (ages 17 and younger) exposure to violence across several major categories including witnessing domestic violence and peer victimization (which includes teen dating violence). OJJDP released incidence and prevalence measures related to children's exposure to violence, including teen dating violence, in 2009. Thus, Congress, agency decision makers, practitioners, and researchers have more comprehensive information to assist them in making decisions on grants and other issues to help address problems faced with teen dating violence.

    Recommendation: To provide Congress and agency decision makers with more comprehensive information on the prevalence of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking to assist them in making policy decisions on grants and other issues associated with these four categories of crime, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shold collaboratively determine the extent to which initiatives being planned or under way can be designed or modified to address existing information gaps.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In 2006, we undertook a study to determine the extent to which national data collection efforts report on the prevalence of men, women, youth, and children who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. As part of this effort, we reported that the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Justice (DOJ) had several initiatives underway to provide additional information related to the prevalence of these issues. We also reported that, even if these efforts are completed as planned, some information gaps will remain, particularly in the areas of dating violence among victims age 12 and older and stalking among victims under age 18. Thus, we recommended that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services collaboratively determine the extent to which initiatives being planned or underway can be designed or modified to address existing information gaps. In response to this recommendation, DOJ developed a plan to address this recommendation that includes tasks and target dates for completing these tasks, such as reviewing its National Crime Victimization Survey instrument to determine whether additional questions should be added to facilitate estimates of the prevalence of teen dating violence. The National Crime Victimization Survey is a DOJ statistical program designed to measure the magnitude, nature, and impact of certain crimes in the United States, such as domestic violence and sexual assault. It also includes crimes reported and not reported to the police. In 2007, DOJ initiated a plan to research and possibly redesign the National Crime Victimization Survey. As part of this redesign, DOJ reported that it would consider whether to add questions related to teen dating violence in response to our recommendation. In February 2011, DOJ officials stated that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in conjunction with DOJ and the Department of Defense, were conducting a survey to collect information on intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking victimization. The results are expected to be available in October 2011. DOJ officials said that they plan to use the results of this survey to help inform their redesign of the National Crime Victimization Survey and to determine whether adding questions related to additional topics, such as the prevalence of teen dating violence would be helpful. Thus, implementation of the redesigned survey is not expected until 2014 at the earliest. In the meantime, DOJ's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in collaboration with CDC sponsored a nationwide survey of the incidence and prevalence of children's (ages 17 and younger) exposure to violence across several major categories including witnessing domestic violence and peer victimization (which includes teen dating violence). OJJDP released incidence and prevalence measures related to children's exposure to violence, including teen dating violence, in 2009. Thus, Congress, agency decision makers, practitioners, and researchers have more comprehensive information to assist them in making decisions on grants and other issues to help address problems faced with teen dating violence. In regards to addressing information gaps related to stalking victims under the age of 18, DOJ said it assessed how it could obtain this information, but determined it first had to resolve data reliability issues related to victims over the age of 18 and has determined that funding is not available at this time for additional research related to identifying the prevalence of stalking among teen victims.

    Recommendation: To provide Congress and agency decision makers with more comprehensive information on the prevalence of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking to assist them in making policy decisions on grants and other issues associated with these four categories of crime, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shold collaboratively to the extent possible, require the use of common definitions when conducting or providing grants for federal research to leverage individual collection efforts so that the results of such efforts can be readily combined to achieve nationwide prevalence estimates.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In 2006, we undertook a study to determine the extent to which national data collection efforts report on the prevalence of men, women, youth, and children who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. We reported that the national data collection efforts we reviewed could not provide a basis for combining their results to compute valid and reliable nationwide prevalence estimates because the estimates use varying definitions. As a result, we recommended that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services should collaboratively, to the extent possible, require the use of common definitions when conducting or providing grants for federal research to leverage individual collection efforts so that the results of such efforts can be readily combined to achieve nationwide prevalence estimates. In response to this recommendation, DOJ reported that it plans to include a provision to use common definitions in its data collections programs and statistical studies, where feasible, in project solicitations for cooperative agreements and contracts, as well as statements of work in interagency agreements related to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. In August 2007, DOJ reported that it has consistently used uniform definitions of intimate partner violence in project solicitations, statements of work, and published reports. In addition, DOJ officials said they would work closely with subject-matter experts, including individuals from the Department of Health and Human Services, in the development of definitions for new areas of study (teen dating violence). For example, according to officials from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs, in 2007, OJJDP expanded an existing tool--the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire (JVQ)--creating common definitions for use in the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence to help collect data and measure incidence and prevalence rates for child victimizations, including teen dating violence. As a result, agency decision makers, practitioners, and researchers have comprehensive, consistent, nationwide information to assist them in making decisions on grants and other issues to help address problems faced with teen dating violence.

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