The Crime Survey for England and Wales (formerly known as the British Crime Survey) is one of the largest social surveys conducted in Britain.
It is primarily a 'victimisation' survey, in which respondents are asked about the experiences of property crimes of the household (e.g. burglary) and personal crimes (e.g. theft from the person) which they themselves have experienced.
Because members of the public are asked directly about victimisation, the Survey provides a record of the experience of crime which is unaffected by variations in the behaviour of victims about reporting the incident to the police and variations over time and between places in the police practices about recording crime.
The scope of the Survey goes well beyond the counting of criminal incidents, although it is for this estimate that it has become established as a definitive source of information.
In order to classify incidents, the Survey collects extensive information about the victims of crime, the circumstances in which incidents occur and the behaviour of offenders in committing crimes.
In this way, the Survey provides information to inform crime reduction measures and to gauge their effectiveness. The Survey has been successful at developing special measures to estimate the extent of domestic violence, stalking and sexual victimisation, which are probably the least-reported to the police but amongst the most serious of crimes in terms of their impact on victims.
The Survey now includes the experiences of children between the ages of ten and fifteen.
Crime Survey Report and Data 2016