General Social Survey - Victimization (GSS)

Detailed information for 2013 (Cycle 28 pilot)

Status:

Active

Frequency:

Every 5 years

Record number:

4504

The two primary objectives of the General Social Survey (GSS) are:
- to gather data on social trends in order to monitor changes in the living conditions and well-being of Canadians over time; and
- to provide information on specific social policy issues of current or emerging interest.

Data release - Pilot data are not released.

Description

The main objective of the GSS on Canadians' Safety (Victimization) is to better understand how Canadians perceive crime and the justice system and to capture information on their experiences of victimization.

This survey is the only national survey of self-reported victimization and is collected in all provinces and territories. The survey allows for estimates of the numbers and characteristics of victims and criminal incidents. As not all crimes are reported to the police, the survey provides an important complement to officially recorded crime rates. It measures both crime incidents that come to the attention of the police and those that are unreported. It also helps to understand the reasons behind whether or not people report a crime to the police.

Survey results will be used by police departments, all levels of government, victim and social service agencies, community groups and researchers not only to better understand the nature and extent of victimization in Canada, but also to study Canadians' perceptions of their safety, the levels of crime in their neighbourhoods, and their attitudes toward the criminal justice system.

Statistical activity

This record is part of the General Social Survey (GSS) program. The GSS originated in 1985. Each survey contains a core topic, focus or exploratory questions and a standard set of socio-demographic questions used for classification. More recent cycles have also included some qualitative questions, which explore intentions and perceptions.

Reference period: Calendar year

Subjects

  • Crime and justice
  • Society and community
  • Victims and victimization

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the GSS on Canadians' Safety (Victimization) is the Canadian population aged 15 and over, living in the provinces and territories. Canadians residing in institutions are not included.

In the GSS Canadians' Safety (Victimization) conducted in the provinces, all respondents are contacted and interviewed by telephone. Thus persons in households without telephones cannot be reached. In 2013, the proportion of households without any phone service was estimated at 1%.

In the territories, respondents are interviewed by telephone or face-to-face.

In 2014, a pilot survey was conducted using the Internet as a mode of data collection. For this survey, all respondents were contacted by telephone and then redirected to the electronic questionnaire.

Instrument design

The questionnaire was designed based on research and extensive consultations with key justice partners and data users. Qualitative testing on new content, conducted by Statistics Canada's Questionnaire Design Resource Center (QDRC), was carried out with respondents in five cities, representing four provinces. Questions which worked well and others that needed clarification or redesign were highlighted. QDRC staff compiled a detailed report of the results along with their recommendations. All comments and feedback from qualitative testing were carefully considered and incorporated into the survey. Discussions on how changes would be implemented were taken in consultation with QDRC.

Sampling

This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

The target population for the pilot survey is non-institutionalized persons 15 years of age or older, living in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Quebec. A raw sample of 5,000 households across the three provinces was used for this pilot test.

This survey uses Statistics Canada's new telephone sampling frame. The frame contains landline and cellular telephone numbers from the Census and various administrative sources provided to Statistics Canada. A sub-sample of unlisted telephone numbers as well as addresses and names from Statistics Canada's new dwelling frame are also included. This sampling frame is used to obtain a better coverage of households with a telephone number.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2013-07-08 to 2013-07-20

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Data collection is conducted by Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) methods in three provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Quebec). An introduction letter is sent in advance to respondents for which an address is available.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Documentation

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