Over the past few decades, the advent of victim surveys has facilitated a broader understanding of the crime problem as well as a better assessment of its burden on citizens at the international level. While in the past only police and criminal justice data were used to measure crime, it is now widely acknowledged that such information alone is not sufficient and should be integrated with victim surveys results. Surveys of victims of crime are a more comparable tool to assess risks across countries and world regions. The International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS) represents the major research project in this respect, with more than 150 surveys done in over 80 different countries since 1989.
Surveys provide information on crime and victimization through a standard questionnaire, the results of which are internationally comparable. To ensure this, all aspects of the methodology have been standardized to the maximum possible extent.
Interviews are done by phone using CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) technique or face-to-face methodology.
To increase comparability face-to-face surveys are mainly conducted in the capital (or largest) cities in participating countries.
UNODC promotes internationally comparable victim surveys in developing countries within and beyond the context of the ICVS.