Justice Department Releases Survey Findings of the Nature and Extent of Children’s Exposure to Violence

October 7, 2009

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs today announced the availability of Children’s Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey, published by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The survey measured the past-year and life-time exposure to violence for children age 17 and younger. The major categories covered in the survey are: conventional crime, child maltreatment, victimization by peers and siblings, sexual victimization, witnessing and indirect victimization, school violence and threats, and Internet victimization.

The survey findings conclude that:

  • More than 60 percent of the children surveyed were exposed to violence within the past year, either directly or indirectly.
  • Nearly one-half of the children and adolescents surveyed were assaulted at least once in the past year, and more than 1 in 10 were injured as a result.
  • Nearly one-quarter of the respondents were the victim of a robbery, vandalism, or theft.
  • One-tenth of respondents were victims of child maltreatment (including physical and emotional abuse, neglect, or a family abduction), and 1 in 16 were victimized sexually.

The research reported in this Bulletin suggests further avenues of study into the long-term effects of violence on youth and ways to improve policies to meet the needs of youthful victims of violence. Among the ramifications of the research are the following:

  • Because the survey tracked children’s lifetime exposure to violence, researchers can develop more accurate estimates on the total number of children in a certain age group who have been exposed to a particular form of violence.
  • It illustrates more clearly the full extent of exposure and the cumulative effects of multiple exposures to violence and how exposure to one form of violence may make a child more vulnerable to other forms of violence.
  • The findings affirm that efforts should be made to reach across disciplines to identify children who are at risk of exposure to violence, such as witnessing domestic violence, and to coordinate the delivery of services to these children.
  • The study also demonstrates that there is a need for screening and assessment tools to identify children who are suffering emotionally, socially, physically, and developmentally from exposure to violence and would benefit from services and treatment.
  • The research also demonstrates that a more comprehensive, coordinated approach is needed to address the fragmented way in which federal, state, and local authorities presently respond to children who have been exposed to violence.

Children’s Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey by David Finkelhor, Heather Turner, Richard Ormrod, Sherry Hamby and Kristen Kracke can be found at www.ojjdp.ncjrs.gov


The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Acting Assistant Attorney Mary Lou Leary, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has five component bureaus: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime. Additionally, OJP has two program offices: the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). More information can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.


SOURCE Office of Justice Programs – U.S. Department of Justice

Source: newswire

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