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February 11, 2008
Contact: Mark Rosenthal, <>

CDC Report Criticized as an 'Unconscionable Attempt to Pad and Distort the Data'

WASHINGTON, February 11, 2008 – A recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control on intimate partner violence inflates and badly distorts the true picture of intimate partner violence, according to RADAR – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting.

In a letter sent today to CDC director Julie Gerberding, RADAR reveals that the CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey has expanded and slanted the survey questions over recent years in a way that severely compromises the validity of the survey results.

The RADAR letter highlights a study done last year by CDC researcher Daniel Whitaker, which found that males were more often the victims of partner violence. But the recent CDC survey reports the exact opposite – claiming that females are twice as likely to be victimized.

"This manipulation of the questions represents an unconscionable attempt to pad and distort the data," charges RADAR.

The early CDC surveys gauged actual acts of violence. The current version now greatly expands the scope of partner violence, now including attempts, threats, and "any unwanted sex." Researcher Neil Gilbert calls this definitional inflation an example of "advocacy research."

"The data wars on physical partner violence clearly have been lost by the gender advocates. So now they are trying to pad the data by adding subjective questions about violence 'attempts' and 'any unwanted sex,' which of course can mean almost anything," notes Dr. Donald Dutton, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia.

The RADAR letter also highlights how bad science often translates in flawed violence prevention programs that end up harming women and ignore male victims of violence.

RADAR is calling on Dr. Gerberding to direct that the BRFSS immediately cease its use of an invalid approach to measuring partner violence and convene a panel of qualified researchers to advise the CDC on how to survey partner violence.

The RADAR letter can seen here: http://mediaradar.org/docs/RADARletter-CDC-BRFSS-Distorts-Data.pdf

The CDC study can be read here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5705a1.htm

R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://mediaradar.org.

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