2. Limitations of research
There are a number of important caveats to this research.
This was a qualitative evidence-gathering exercise, and while it provides valuable insights into the experience of people experiencing domestic abuse and other forms of VAWG, it provides only a partial picture. As with other Scottish Government research on domestic abuse, it should be noted that even the most detailed and high quality measure of domestic abuse will only relate to a small proportion of the total domestic abuse experienced in Scotland. Domestic abuse is an under-reported and often hidden crime. The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, for example, estimates that the police came to know about just under one-in-five of the most recent incidents of partner abuse during 2016-17 and 2017-18, therefore there will clearly be some limit to the value of any single measure as an accurate reflection of total domestic abuse in Scotland. In terms of women involved in prostitution and Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) robust and reliable data is difficult to obtain and there is no identified consistent data collection in this area.
For this evidence-gathering exercise, there are also a number of specific caveats that limit the reliability of this research:
- The organisations sampled varied in their remit, client base and institutional processes, which may significantly affect the reporting of their and their clients' experience, and the reliability and robustness of data provided;
- Most local women's aid centres were not included in the sample;
- Organisations varied in the data metrics they provided;
- The research reflects only the voice of victims engaged in services; and this is further limited in that these voices were represented via third parties (i.e. frontline staff and service managers) rather than directly.