Standardizing the Display of IBR Data: Relationship Variables

Frequencies and Rate of Missing Data for Relationship Variables Frequencies at a Glance

Rate of Missing? 5.48% for required offenses
Most Common Relationship? Acquaintance (21.7%)

Frequencies of Reported Relationships

The 1999 NIBRS file contains 2,311,625 victims from 18 states.  All of the possible relationship types occur in the file.  The frequency for each available relationship type (for all offenders) is presented below.  Since there are incidents with multiple offenders, the number of relationships will be higher than the total number of victims.

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Despite the large number of categories, a lot of victim relationships are classified as unknown (13%).  Of the known relationships, the most frequently reported relationship is acquaintance (21.7%), followed by stranger (11.7%).

To look at missing data, we'll have to look at the offenses that require the reporting of a victim's relationship to the offender(s).


There are 14 offenses that require a victim relationship (murder and nonneligent manslaughter, negligent homicide, justifiable homicide, kidnaping/abduction, forcible rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, forcible fondling, robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault, intimidation, incest, and statutory rape).  When these offenses are selected, we see that 5% are missing a relationship.

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For these offenses, 34% of robbery victims are missing the victim to offender relationship.


Frequencies of Reported Relationships for Violent Offenses

When only part 1 violent offenses (murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) are selected, the victim is most likely to be an acquaintance for all offenses except robbery.  For 25% of the victims, the relationship to the offender is unknown.

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Domestic Relationships

Part of the advantage of NIBRS is the ability to capture a wealth of information; it is possible to categorize the relationship between the victim and offender into categories.  In this example, relationships were coded into 4 categories - intimate partners (spouses, common-law spouses, boy/girlfriends, ex-spouses, and homosexual relationships), family members (parents, siblings, children, grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws, stepparents, stepchildren, stepsiblings, and other family members), other known relationships (acquaintances, friends, neighbors, babysittees, children of boy/girlfriends, employees, employers, and otherwise known relationships), and strangers.  The table below presents the types of relationships that exist between the victim and offender for violent offenses.  Since it is possible that more than one category of relationship could apply to multiple offenders (.3% in the 1999 NIBRS file), only victims with one category of relationship are included.  As the table shows, nonfamily members are more likely to be victimized than family members for all of the selected violent offenses.  Victims are more likley to be victimized by their intimate partners than by other family members.

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Victim was Offender Relationships

When an offense occurs and all parties are arrested, then the victim is coded as an offender in the relationship field.  If we look at the relationship these dual offenders have with each other, we see that they are most frequently acquaintances (25%), spouses (16%), or in a dating relationship (15%).

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Now let's look at the types of offenses committed by victims who are also offenders.  In this example, we've categorized the offenses into murders and homicides, sexual assaults, robberies, assaults, and nonviolent offenses.  When only the most serious cateogory of offense is selected, we see that the vast majority of victims are assaulted (99.6%). 

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