The concept of victimisation surveys (also known as International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS)) is well established in South Africa (SA) and internationally. Until recently the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) coordinated and sometimes conducted the ICVS in developing countries. During the past two decades a number of surveys related to crime, crime victims and users of services provided by the safety and security cluster departments have been conducted by various service providers in South Africa. Besides these surveys, three national VOCS have been conducted. The first of these was the Victims of Crime Survey conducted in 1998 by Statistics South Africa. This survey was based on the ICVS questionnaire developed by UNICRI, with adjustments made for local conditions. The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) was responsible for conducting subsequent versions of the VOCS, the National Victimes of Crime Survey 2003 and the Victim Survey 2007.
Starting with the Victims of Crime Survey 2011, Statistics SA plans to conduct the VOCS annually. The ‘new’ Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS) series is a countrywide household-based survey and examines three aspects of crime:
• The nature, extent and patterns of crime in South Africa, from the victim’s perspective;
• Victim risk and victim proneness, so as to inform the development of crime prevention and public education programmes;
• People’s perceptions of services provided by the police and the courts as components of the criminal justice system.
The VOCS 2011 is comparable to the VOCS 1998, VOCS 2003 and VOCS 2007 in cases where the questions remained largely unchanged. However, it is important to note that the sample size for the VOCS 2011 is much bigger than any of the preceding surveys, and the data should be considered more reliable than the earlier surveys especially at lower levels of disaggregation.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
The units of analysis in the study were individuals and households
v1: Edited, anonymised dataset for licensed access
The VOCS 2011 focuses on people's perceptions and experiences of crime, as well as their views regarding their access to and effectiveness of the police and justice system. Households are also asked about community responses to crime. The survey profiled different aspects that are inherent in the different types of crimes, such as the location and timing of the different crimes, the use of weapons and the nature and extent of the violence that takes place.
law enforcement [5.2]
legal systems [5.3]
The survey had national coverage
The lowest level of geographic aggregation covered by the data is province
The target population of the survey consisted of all private households in all nine provinces of South Africa and residents in workers' hostels. The survey did not cover other collective living quarters such as students' hostels, old-age homes, hospitals, prisons and military barracks.
Producers and sponsors
Statistics South Africa
The sample design for the VOCS 2011 was based on a master sample (MS) originally designed as the sampling frame for the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS). The MS is based on information collected during the 2001 Population Census conducted by Stats SA. The MS has been developed as a general-purpose household survey frame that can be used by all household-based surveys, irrespective of the sample size requirement of the survey. The VOCS 2011, like all other household-based surveys, uses a MS of primary sampling units (PSUs) which comprises census enumeration areas (EAs) that are drawn from across the country.
The sample for the VOCS 2011 used a stratified two-stage design with probability proportional to size (PPS) sampling of PSUs in the first stage, and sampling of dwelling units (DUs) with systematic sampling in the second stage. The sample was designed to be representative at provincial level. A self-weighting design at provincial level was used and MS stratification was divided into two levels. Primary stratification was defined by metropolitan and non-metropolitan geographic area type. During secondary stratification, the Census 2001 data were summarised at PSU level. The following variables were used for secondary stratification: household size, education, occupancy status, gender, industry and income. A randomised probability proportional to size (RPPS) systematic sample of PSUs was drawn in each stratum, with the measure of size being the number of households in the PSU. The sample size of 3 080 PSUs was selected. In each selected PSU a systematic sample of dwelling units was drawn. The number of DUs selected per PSU varies from PSU to PSU and depends on the inverse sampling ratios (ISR) of each PSU. The sample size for the VOCS 2011 is 29 754 dwelling units.
Sampling weights for the data collected from the sampled households are constructed in such a manner that the responses could be properly expanded to represent the entire civilian population of South Africa. The design weights, which are the inverse sampling rate (ISR) for the province, are assigned to each of the households in a province. The design weights for the VOCS 2011 sample were obtained by applying three adjustments to the base-weights. The first adjustment was applied to account for informal and/or growth PSUs. The second adjustment was applied to account for the EAs with less than 25 households and the third was the non-response adjustment. In addition, there were two types of non-response adjustments: PSU non-response adjustment and household non-response adjustment. The PSU non-response adjustment was applied at the stratum level, whereas the household non-response adjustment was applied at the PSU level.
Final survey weights
The final survey weights were constructed by calibrating the adjusted non-response design weights to the known population estimates as control totals using the 'Integrated Household Weighting' method. The lower bound for the calibrated weights was set equal to 50 when computing the calibrated weights with the StatMx software (Statistics Canada software). The VOCS 2011 sample was weighted using the population estimate of mid-November 2010. The final weights were benchmarked to the known population estimates of 5-year age groups by population groups by gender at national level, and broad age groups at province level. The calibrated weights were constructed in such a way that all persons in a household would have the same final weight. Records for which the age, population group or gender had item non-response could not be weighted and were therefore excluded from the dataset. No additional imputation was done to retain these records.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
An independent company, Markinor, undertook the fieldwork for the survey
Statistics South Africa
The VOCS 2011 questionnaire was based on the questionnaires used in the International Crime Victim Survey (ICVS) and previous VOCSs conducted by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and Statistics SA. The
questions are covered in 27 sections and deal with the following topics:
Flap Demographic information (name, sex, age, population group, etc.)
Section 1 Household-specific characteristics (education, economic activities and household income sources
Section 2 Beliefs about crime
Section 3 Individual and community response to crime
Section 4 Victim support and other interventions
Section 5 Citizen interaction or community cohesion
Section 6 Perception of the police service
Section 7 Perception of the courts
Section 8 Perception of correctional services
Section 9 Corruption experienced by the respondent
Section 10 Experience of household crime (screening table)
Section 11 Theft of car experienced by a household member(s) in the previous 12 months
Section 12 Housebreaking or burglary when no one was at home in the previous 12 months
Section 13 Theft of livestock, poultry and other animals in the previous 12 months
Section 14 Theft of crops planted by the household in the previous 12 months
Section 15 Murder experienced by a household member(s) in the past 12 months
Section 16 Theft out of a motor vehicle experienced by a household member(s) in the previous 12 months
Section 17 Deliberate damaging/burning or destruction of dwelling experienced by a household member(s) in the previous 12 months
Section 18 Motor vehicle vandalism or deliberate damage of a motor vehicle experienced by a household member(s) in the previous 12 months
Section 19 Home robbery (including robbery often around or inside the household’s dwelling) experienced by a household member(s) in the previous 12 months
Sections 20–27 of this questionnaire required that an individual be randomly selected from the household to respond to questions classified as individual crimes. The methodology used was to select a person 16 years or older, whose birthday was the first to follow the survey date. These sections collected data on:
Section 20 Experiences of individual crimes (screening table) in the past 5 years and in the previous 12 months
Section 21 Theft of bicycle experienced in the previous 12 months
Section 22 Theft of motorbike or scooter experienced in the past 12 months
Section 23 Car hijacking (including attempted hijacking) experienced in the previous 12 months
Section 24 Robbery (including street robberies and other non-residential robberies, excluding car or truck hijackings, and home robberies) experienced in the previous 12 months
Section 25 Assault experienced in the previous 12 months
Section 26 Sexual offences (including rape) experienced in the previous 12 months
Section 27 Consumer fraud experienced by the individual experienced in the previous 12 months
All sections Comprehensive coverage of all aspects of domestic tourism and expenditure
The final data files correspond to sections of the questionnaireas follows:
Person: Data from Flap and Section 1 (excluding Section 1.6 and 1.7)
Household: Data from Section 1.7 and Section 10-19
Section 20-27: Data from Section 20-27
The VOCS 2011 is comparable to the previous VOCSs in that several questions have remained unchanged over time. Where possible, it was generally indicated in the report. However, it must be noted that the VOCS 2011 sample size was more than double of the previous surveys. The current survey can thus provide more accurate estimates than the previous surveys, for example at provincial level and for domain variables, such as gender and race. Caution should be exercised when running cross tabulation of different crimes by province and other variables as in most cases the reported cases were too few for this type of analysis.
Capture was undertaken on Epi-Info. A process of double capture was undertaken in order to eliminate capture error.
University of Cape Town
University of Cape Town
Licensed dataset, accessible under conditions
Statistics South Africa. Victims of crime survey 2011 [dataset]. Version 1. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa [producer], 2011. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2012.
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.