Consultation on the Redesign of the Crime Survey for England and Wales

Closed 21 Aug 2022

Opened 26 May 2022

Feedback updated 7 Nov 2022

We asked

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) consulted on the redesign of the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) from 26 May to 21 August 2022. 

The consultation sought to update CSEW users on the planned survey redesign and provide the opportunity for comment on both the redesign and survey content.

The consultation focused on two areas: 

  1. the methodological redesign of the CSEW including moving to a longitudinal panel survey design incorporating a multi-modal, wave approach 
  2. the content of the current survey instrument, how data is used and the opportunity to suggest changes  

For full details, please see our consultation response document.

 We would like to thank all respondents for taking part in the consultation. We appreciate the time taken to complete responses and we will use the information provided to design a CSEW that continues to meet data and information requirements about crimes committed against the general household population in England and Wales.

You said

The consultation received 58 responses from a range of stakeholders including individuals providing a personal view, individuals representing organisations and collective responses from organisations. These included: 

  • 22 responses from government, including local government and public bodies 
  • 13 responses from third sector, including charities and think tanks 
  • 12 responses from police bodies and institutions 
  • 8 responses from academia or research 
  • 3 responses from individuals responding in a personal capacity

 Methodological redesign of the CSEW 

We were pleased to find overwhelming support for the introduction of a longitudinal panel design. Benefits identified with the approach focused on the improved reliability of main estimates of crime, and increased data granularity offered by a larger sample. The ability to identify trends in victimisation and perceptions over time as well as new insights into the nature of crime, were just some of the advantages mentioned. As anticipated, concerns with the new approach included data comparability, consistency over time and attrition. 

Similarly, respondents were supportive of the move to a multimodal design citing potential improvements in data quality and sample representativeness. It was also understood that a multimodal design could reduce costs and enable the increase in sample size. Concern was expressed in relation to mode effects, data comparability, capturing complex crimes, confidentiality and safeguarding.  

Improvements to screener questions were welcomed by respondents, with the increase in data quality being valued above the potential impact on comparability. Respondents also supported harmonisation of the CSEW classification system with the Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR).  

There was opposition to the removal of questions on non-domestic stalking within the domestic abuse, sexual victimisation and stalking module. Concern surrounded the impact on the violence against women and girls (VAWG) evidence base and the implications of the resulting data gap for funding of support services and evidencing change to the criminal justice system (CJS).  

There was support for the Children’s Crime Survey for England and Wales (CCSEW) moving to a longitudinal panel design in the future. The key benefit identified by respondents was the analysis of trends in child victimisation, with sample attrition cited as the main concern. The move to a prevalence only measure of victimisation in the CCSEW received strong opposition with concern about the lack of incidence data creating an evidence gap.  

Content of the current survey 

Respondents’ comments on the content of the CSEW illustrated the value of each of the existing modules. Various new topic areas were suggested for inclusion, including hate crimes, online harms, the victim-offender overlap, modern slavery, terrorism and vulnerability to radicalisation. Further in-depth questions for existing modules were requested including gangs and personal security, VAWG and sexual assault and the re-introduction of the restorative justice module.  

We did

We have implemented a longitudinal panel design incorporating a multi-modal approach. Wave 1 of the new design commenced in October 2021 with the return of post-pandemic face-to-face interviewing. Wave 2 started more recently in October 2022, with the introduction of telephone interviews being offered to respondents taking part in the previous year. The continuation of face-to-face interviews at wave 1 will enable us to retain data comparability with previous years and we will evaluate the quality of data and develop robust methods before integrating data collected from wave 2.  

We have commenced a programme of research to develop online survey capability for the CSEW, starting with the screener and victimisation modules. Over time, we aim to supplement collections from wave 2 onwards using an online survey instrument and will consider how the design of a parallel run can ensure comparability and operational continuity for the survey. 

We share the concerns relating to the changing methodology, voiced by respondents to the consultation. We will conduct further research to engage with under represented groups to ensure sample representativeness and will consider methods to minimise attrition including the design of an optimal weighting scheme. We will conduct rigorous testing and monitoring of survey instruments including changes to questions and crime coding. We will consider various methods to ensure data comparability across waves and modes. We will keep users updated on all matters concerning data as the survey transformation progresses.  

Questions on domestic abuse have recently been re-developed to improve data accuracy. New domestic abuse questions will be published in spring 2023, alongside our evaluation plan and an update on the impact for other questions such as non-domestic stalking. We are also currently re-designing questions on the topic of adults who have experienced abuse in childhood. As a result of feedback from the consultation, we will consider additional themes including perpetrator demographics, the nature of victimisation and reporting of abuse. We are working with stakeholders and victims to ensure appropriateness and accuracy.  

We are currently working on an online self-completion module for the CCSEW, and the victimisation module will be re-developed alongside this. We understand concerns relating to a prevalence only measure and will continue to engage with stakeholders to understand data requirements. The collection of victimisation data online presents many challenges, so estimates produced from an online CCSEW will require robust evaluation.  

No large-scale changes will be made to the content of the survey instrument. The inclusion of new topics provides a challenge given the limited available space on the CSEW. However, consideration will be given to each of the new topic areas suggested and the expansion of existing modules, which may involve further input from stakeholders and data users. Developing our online survey capability will be an important step towards increasing capacity to collect additional data for new and existing topics on the CSEW. 

Results updated 7 Nov 2022



The ONS is seeking views on the planned redesign of the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW). Our aim is to ensure that the Crime Survey continues to reflect the evolving needs of policy makers, citizens and data users. The CSEW is a vital source of evidence in the crime debate, and it is critical that the survey continues to provide high quality statistics on crime in a cost-effective way. 

We are encouraging responses from everyone interested in crime statistics, including from government, policing bodies, victim groups, voluntary and charities, civil society organisations and academia.  

The consultation is split into two sections – a methodological redesign and questionnaire changes.  

About the proposed methodological redesign 

This section covers proposed methodological changes to the survey. It includes: 

  • moving to a new panel design where respondents will be interviewed annually for up to three years 

  • moving to a multi-modal survey. Following the initial interview in people’s homes, second and subsequent interviews will be carried out over the phone or online 

  • sample design considerations 

  • proposed changes which may affect the main estimates of crime 

  • proposed changes affecting measures of domestic abuse, sexual assault and abuse during childhood 

  • changes to the 10 to 15 year olds children’s survey 

About proposed questionnaire changes  

This allows users to comment on the content of the current survey while also providing the opportunity to propose changes to the content. With the introduction of a longitudinal panel design we are looking to seek feedback on potential new ways to analysis the data. 

Find out more at our event 

We are also hosting an engagement webinar to discuss the consultation and answer any questions you may have. The event will take place on Microsoft Teams at 10am to 11.30am on 15 June 2022. 

Please register to attend


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