Victim Satisfaction Surveys Frequently Asked Questions
Why conduct victim surveys?
The majority of forces within England and Wales will conduct victim satisfaction surveys with specific victim groups as the result of a previously mandated Home Office requirement.
The offence types covered by the surveys are:
- Domestic burglary - burglary in a dwelling, including aggravated and attempted burglary
- Violent crime - wounding, assault and personal robbery
- Vehicle crime - theft of and from a motor vehicle, including aggravated and attempted vehicle taking
- Hate crime - crimes which are motivated by a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability
- Anti-social behaviour
In addition to the above, Cheshire Constabulary are also required to survey a sample of persons who have been the victim of Domestic Abuse. Unlike the surveys we have already mentioned, this is a mandated requirement set by the Home Office.
Are we conducting these surveys in-house?
No – the force uses Leicestershire Constabulary to conduct our victim satisfaction surveys. The force has worked with the Constabulary for over a year.
What methodology are we using to conduct surveys?
Surveys are conducted via a telephone interview. This methodology yields better response rates than other techniques (e.g. 45 to 55% telephone, 20 to 25% paper). Use of a telephone survey also allows the force to gather data from those individuals who would be unlikely to return a paper survey, which ultimately means that the information gained, is more reliable and valid.
How are people selected to take part?
Probability sampling techniques are used to select the sample, in order to ensure that each member of the sampling population (i.e. victims of the crime types specified earlier) has an equal chance of being selected. Care is also taken to ensure that the ‘profile’ of respondents reflects the profile of the victim group in age, gender and ethnicity.
Sample details are sent to Leicestershire Constabulary on a monthly basis in a safe and secure manner and in accordance with Data Protection guidelines.
Are there any exclusions?
Cheshire Constabulary apply the following exclusions either before or after the sample is selected:
- Victims below the age of 16
- Where the offender was another family member e.g. sibling/parent/child of the victim
- Where the offender was a partner or former partner of the victim
- Victims who are members of the police service or police authority
- Victims for whom the survey would cause undue distress or who were involved in a very serious injury
- Victims who are considered vulnerable, e.g. victims with mental health problems or who are elderly
- Victims who have requested no further police action
- Victims who will not co-operate with the police investigation
- Victims already contacted several times in 12 months
- When the incident is part of an on-going neighbour dispute.
How often are we conducting our surveys?
We try to conduct surveys within 6-12 weeks of a crime or incident being reported. This is to give time for follow-up action by the force, but also ensure that the crime / incident and subsequent service received is relatively fresh in the respondent’s mind.
Do people have to take part?
No – all respondents are given a choice as to whether they wish to complete the survey or not. If respondents choose not to participate, they are simply thanked for their time and their number is removed from the sample database. People can also choose to terminate the interview at any point if they feel uncomfortable answering the questions posed.
Are residents given a point of contact within force to check legitimacy of the call?
Yes – if residents express distress or a need to verify legitimacy of the call, a contact name and number of a member of staff within the Data Delivery Team of Cheshire Constabulary is supplied by Leicestershire.
Will numbers be passed on to a third party?
No – telephone numbers will only be used for this specific project and destroyed after use. No numbers will ever be passed on to a third party for further calls.
Is the information given by respondents kept safe?
Yes – Leicestershire Constabulary are governed by the same laws and legislation as any other Constabulary e.g. the Data Protection Act, the Official Secrets Act and confidentiality rules.
What about the Telephone Preference Service (TPS)?
Although the Telephone Preference Service allows members of the public to opt out of unsolicited sales or marketing calls, it does not exempt them from being legitimately contacted and asked to participate in genuine research.
The following exemption comes directly from the TPS website front page:
“As TPS registration only prevents marketing calls, organisations will still be able to call you for the purposes of genuine market research”
Is the process legal?