Nearly 60 percent of women in Alaska have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence or both over the course of their lifetime, according to the Alaska Victimization Survey, an ongoing assessment of violence against women in the state.
The survey is administered by RTI International in partnership with the Justice Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Now in its third year, the survey offers the first definitive measures of the frequency and prevalence of intimate partner and sexual violence against women in the state of Alaska. The data have helped advance efforts of policy makers and others who are working to prevent and reduce violence and its associated personal and public costs. The survey includes questions about incidents of intimate partner violence and sexual violence over the course of a participant's lifetime as well as in the past year. The project is supported by victim advocacy groups and tribal organizations in Alaska.
"There is a critical need for valid, consistent and reliable data on the scope and nature of intimate partner violence against women everywhere using uniform definitions and survey methods," said David Roe, the project's director at RTI. "The data gathered through this survey have the potential to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals directly affected by intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking in Alaska, where past studies have suggested victimization rates far higher than the rest of the United States."
The original 2010 survey was designed to establish a baseline for statewide intimate partner and sexual violence estimates for females over age 18 and sampled women from all over Alaska. The 2011 and 2012 surveys were aimed at gathering data from particular cities and communities. The 2011 survey focused on residents of Fairbanks, Anchorage, Bristol Bay and Juneau, and the 2012 survey included the rural areas of Kodiak Island, Sitka and Bethel.
While 2012 results are currently being analyzed, 2011 results showed that fifty percent of women living in Fairbanks have experienced intimate partner violence, and in Juneau, 35 percent of women have experienced sexual violence.
As survey administrator, the RTI team is responsible for assisting with and advising questionnaire design, telephone interviewing systems testing, interviewer training, data collection management and oversight, sampling, and weighting. The data is analyzed and disseminated by the Justice Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
"In all of our victimization surveys, the safety of our respondents is always our primary concern," said Andrι Rosay, the principal investigator for the Alaska Victimization Survey. "RTI brings significant expertise in conducting sensitive surveys and is committed to maximizing the safety of all respondents."
Funding for the project is provided by the Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, with supplemental funding from the Office of the Governor Sean Parnell. The survey is part of Governor Parnell's initiative to end the epidemic of sexual assault and domestic violence and to make Alaska the national leader in combating these issues. RTI and the UAA Justice Center are currently planning the 2013 survey, which will focus on additional rural areas.
"We are continuing to help the UAA Justice Center build the understanding of this widespread problem by collecting data in specific geographic areas of interest." Roe said. "Our hope is to continue this partnership well into the future, as it truly reflects RTI's mission to improve the human condition by turning knowledge into practice."
Additional information and survey results can be found online: http://justice.uaa.alaska.edu/avs
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