Survey Methods

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments commissioned a national telephone survey of American households. Conducted by Political Research of Centreville, VA, the surveys utilized a computer-activated interactive telephone technology with a pre-recorded human voice. The technology requires all questions be phrased so they can be answered with a “yes” or “no” response.

In order to evaluate for possible seasonal effects, calls were made to 10,000 landline telephones during the period May 2-4, 2011, and to an additional 10,000 landline telephones September 20-22, 2011.  

Sampling Frame

The sampling frame draws from voter registration records in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Voter-registration records are a relatively low-cost means to identify a broad community sample that avoids the biases of other recruitment methods. However, voter records are not considered to be representative of the national population. Non-response biases may further affect the generalizability of the findings.

Questions

The survey consisted of a relatively small number of questions in order maximize the response rate. On average, surveys took less than one minute to complete. Following are the survey questions:

THIS IS POLITICAL RESEARCH CALLING WITH A SHORT SURVEY ABOUT ABUSE IN AMERICA. BY ABUSE, WE MEAN CHILD ABUSE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, OR SEXUAL ABUSE.

1. HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF A PERSON BEING ACCUSED OF ABUSE? (YES, NO)

2. SOME ACCUSATIONS OF ABUSE ARE TRUE, AND SOME ACCUSATIONS ARE KNOWN TO BE FALSE. HAS ANYONE YOU KNOW EVER BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED OF ABUSE? (YES, NO)

3. HAS ANYONE YOU KNOW EVER BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED OF CHILD ABUSE? (YES, NO)

4. HAS ANYONE YOU KNOW EVER BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AGAINST A PARTNER? (YES, NO)

5. HAS ANYONE YOU KNOW EVER BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ABUSE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, OR RAPE? (YES, NO)

6. HAS ANYONE YOU KNOW EVER BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED OF ANOTHER FORM OF ABUSE? (YES, NO)

7. WAS THIS PERSON FALSELY ACCUSED OF ABUSE WITHIN THE PAST YEAR? (YES, NO)

8. WAS THE FALSELY-ACCUSED PERSON A MALE? (YES, NO)

9. WAS THE FALSE ACCUSER A FEMALE? (YES, NO)

10. WAS THE ACCUSATION MADE AS PART OF A CHILD CUSTODY DISPUTE? (YES, NO)

11. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN FALSELY ACCUSED OF ABUSE? (YES, NO)

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND VIEWS.

 In order to test for possible question-order effects, the order of questions 3. and 4. was reversed for the September survey. Changing the question order was found to have a moderate effect in increasing the percentage of persons responding “yes” to the first question, and increasing the number of persons saying they were falsely accused of “another form of abuse.”

Response Rate

To maximize response rates, up to three calls were placed to each number. Of the approximately 10,000 calls placed for each survey:

  May September
Calls that resulted in a “live” response, meaning the respondent listened to at least 10 seconds of the survey 26.6% 34.7%
Live respondents who answered at least one question 51.4% 42.4%
Live respondents who completed the entire survey 41.7% 17.5%

 These percentages are within the range of response rates for other similar automated telephone surveys.