Trends in Childhood Violence and Abuse Exposure: Evidence From 2 National Surveys

Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, 126 Horton Social Science Center, 20 College Road, Durham, NH 03824, USA.
JAMA Pediatrics (Impact Factor: 5.73). 03/2010; 164(3):238-42. DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.283
Source: PubMed


To assess trends in children's exposure to abuse, violence, and crime victimizations.
An analysis based on a comparison of 2 cross-sectional national telephone surveys using identical questions conducted in 2003 and 2008.
Telephone interview.
Experiences of children aged 2 to 17 years (2030 children in 2003 and 4046 children in 2008) were assessed through interviews with their caretakers and the children themselves. Outcome Measure Responses to the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire.
Several types of child victimization were reported significantly less often in 2008 than in 2003: physical assaults, sexual assaults, and peer and sibling victimizations, including physical bullying. There were also significant declines in psychological and emotional abuse by caregivers, exposure to community violence, and the crime of theft. Physical abuse and neglect by caregivers did not decline, and witnessing the abuse of a sibling increased.
The declines apparent in this analysis parallel evidence from other sources, including police data, child welfare data, and the National Crime Victimization Survey, suggesting reductions in various types of childhood victimization in recent years.

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    • "In many cases they act on these sexual urges. Despite the somewhat declining prevalence of child sexual abuse, an estimated 6.7% of children in the United States have been sexually abused (Finkelhor et al. 2010). Because child sexual abuse leads to high tangible and intangible costs, child sexual abuse is of high public concern. "

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    • "Although the prevalence of child sexual abuse is declining somewhat, it is still estimated that 6.7% of children in the United States are being abused sexually (Finkelhor et al., 2010). As child sexual abuse leads to high tangible and intangible costs (Miller et al., 1996), it is a matter of great public concern. "
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