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JAMA Pediatr. 2015 Aug;169(8):746-54. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.0676.

Prevalence of Childhood Exposure to Violence, Crime, and Abuse: Results From the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence.

Author information

1
Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham.
2
Department of Psychology, Sewanee-The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee.

Abstract

IMPORTANCE:

It is important to estimate the burden of and trends for violence, crime, and abuse in the lives of children.

OBJECTIVE:

To provide health care professionals, policy makers, and parents with current estimates of exposure to violence, crime, and abuse across childhood and at different developmental stages.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:

The National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV) includes a representative sample of US telephone numbers from August 28, 2013, to April 30, 2014. Via telephone interviews, information was obtained on 4000 children 0 to 17 years old, with information about exposure to violence, crime, and abuse provided by youth 10 to 17 years old and by caregivers for children 0 to 9 years old.

MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURE:

Exposure to violence, crime, and abuse using the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire.

RESULTS:

In total, 37.3% of youth experienced a physical assault in the study year, and 9.3% of youth experienced an assault-related injury. Two percent of girls experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse in the study year, while the rate was 4.6% for girls 14 to 17 years old. Overall, 15.2% of children and youth experienced maltreatment by a caregiver, including 5.0% who experienced physical abuse. In total, 5.8% witnessed an assault between parents. Only 2 significant rate changes could be detected compared with the last survey in 2011, namely, declines in past-year exposure to dating violence and lifetime exposure to household theft.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE:

Children and youth are exposed to violence, abuse, and crime in varied and extensive ways, which justifies continued monitoring and prevention efforts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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