David Finkelhor

David Finkelhor
University of New Hampshire | UNH · Crimes Against Children Research Center

Ph.D.

About

354
Publications
242,930
Reads
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52,406
Citations
Additional affiliations
May 1978 - present
University of New Hampshire
Position
  • Director of Crimes against Children Research Center

Publications

Publications (354)
Article
One of the many outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic was a shift in the delivery of elementary (primary) education. Schools transitioned swiftly to e-learning and prioritized education that was already or could be easily adapted to virtual formats. Given the paucity of online content available, it is not likely that child sexual abuse (CSA) prevention...
Article
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This article aims to understand what practices and training Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces and affiliated agencies are currently using to help mitigate distress and promote wellbeing among investigators of child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Data were collected via telephone interviews with Commanders of 54 ICAC Task Forces as...
Article
This article draws attention to the overlapping literature on social determinants of health and adverse childhood experiences, and the growing clinical interest in addressing them to promote children’s and parents’ health and well-being. We address important considerations and suggest solutions for leaders and practitioners in primary care to addre...
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Epidemiological surveys measuring the prevalence of child maltreatment generate essential knowledge that is required to enhance human rights, promote gender equality, and reduce child abuse and neglect and its effects. Yet, evidence suggests Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) may assess the risk of these studies using higher than normal thresholds,...
Article
Background Children's exposure to parental violence against another parent has been widely studied as an adverse childhood experience and source of childhood trauma. Exposure to parental violence against a sibling could be equally as traumatizing, but the literature on this exposure is sparse, by comparison. We examined the frequency of exposure to...
Article
Teaching young people about “privacy” has serious defects if the goal is to promote children’s online safety. This commentary points out some the key problems to programs and educational modules with this privacy orientation. Privacy is an abstract and complicated concept, whose norms are in flux, making it difficult to impart clear, relevant, cons...
Article
Importance Children and youth experience high rates of exposure to violence, which is associated with later poor physical and mental health outcomes. The immediate injuries and impacts from these exposures are often treated in emergency departments and medical offices. Objective To characterize, using nationally representative data, the size and c...
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Importance Epidemiological literature on children’s mental health and children’s adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have consistently pointed to widespread, unaddressed, and treatable high-risk conditions among children. Objective To estimate the proportion of children with either high levels of ACEs and/or high levels of mental health symptoms...
Article
Background It is important for those called upon to discuss major social determinants of health such as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) to have accurate knowledge about generational trends in their prevalence. Objective To review available trend data on major forms of ACEs. Methods A search of academic data bases was conducted by combining t...
Article
Background The monitoring of trends is important. The United Nations (UN) have defined indicators to monitor the proportion of young men and women who have experienced sexual abuse before the age of 18 (Indicator 16.2.3) as part of their global agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Objective To examine recent trends in the disclosure of...
Article
Background There is increasing interest in routine screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to help identify high-risk children who would benefit from interventions. However, there has not yet been sufficient research concerning which particular set of ACEs would be most predictive as a potential screening tool. Objective This study comp...
Article
Sibling victimization is associated with adjustment problems. Protective factors that reduce the detrimental effects of sibling victimization are unknown. We examined the mediating role of social support from family and friends in the relationship between sibling victimization and adolescents' mental health distress, self-esteem, and delinquency. A...
Article
Background This review critically examines the messages of youth internet safety education programs in the light of research about both the dynamics of internet dangers and the efficacy of youth prevention education. Methods Using terms “internet safety education” and “digital citizenship,” a Google search identified 12 multi-topic safety programs...
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We document four patterns of sibling victimization (Persist, New, Desist, and None) across two time points and their association with peer victimization at time two and whether these linkages are apparent in early childhood, middle childhood and adolescence. A telephone survey (N = 1653) was conducted with a nationally representative sample of U.S....
Article
Background: The majority of studies investigating child pornography have focused on conceptualizing the problem and the harm of the crime, evaluating the risk for child pornography offending, or discuss preventive measures. Little is known about survivors of this type of crime. Objective: This research explores the relationship between child por...
Article
The present study sought to examine features of sexual abuse cases among a U.S. nationally representative sample of 13,052 children and adolescents, ages 0–17 years. The National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence was collected in three different years (2008, 2011, and 2014) via telephone interviews. Information about sexual abuse and assaul...
Article
Though peer victimization has received more attention than sibling victimization, they both have negative associations with mental health and may share common family origins. We explore whether there are common family characteristics (family climate, interparental conflict, parenting) in the prediction of sibling and peer victimization. We employ a...
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Objectives To assess the prevalence of corporal punishment usage in the US population. Methods This study was based on a 2014 cross-sectional, telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of US households with children. Reports about spanking of 0–9 year olds were obtained from parents, while reports about 10–17 year olds were obtained f...
Article
Background: Childhood neglect is an understudied form of childhood maltreatment despite being the most commonly reported to authorities. Objective: This study provides national estimates of neglect subtypes, demographic variations in exposure to neglect subtypes, and examines the psychological impact. Participants and setting: Pooled data from...
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Using a pooled data set of two waves of the National Surveys of Children’s Exposure to Violence, this study investigates links between indicators of socioeconomic resources and lifetime exposure to two different forms of child neglect (physical and supervisory), examines how neglect is associated with the risk of other types of victimization, and e...
Article
This study examines the lifetime prevalence and distribution of family/friend homicide exposure among children and adolescents age 2 to 17 in the United States, and assesses the impact of family/friend homicide on emotional and behavioral outcomes, while controlling for potential co-occurring factors. Data were collected by telephone about the expe...
Article
This research explores the complex experiences of survivors of child pornography production. The study was conducted among a convenience sample of child pornography adult survivors (N = 133), using an online survey which included a series of open-ended questions. Nearly half of respondents reported that they felt the production of sexual images cau...
Article
Predictability in a child's environment is a critical quality of safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments, which promote wellbeing and protect against maltreatment. Research has focused on residential mobility's effect on this predictability. This study augments such research by analyzing the impact of an instability index-including t...
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This study examined how the combination of sibling victimization and parental child maltreatment is related to mental health problems and delinquency in childhood and adolescence. Co-occurrence, additive associations, and interactive associations of sibling victimization and parental child maltreatment were investigated using a sample of 2,053 chil...
Article
Introduction: Official data sources do not provide researchers, practitioners, and policy makers with complete information on physical injury from child abuse. This analysis provides a national estimate of the percentage of children who were injured during their most recent incident of physical abuse. Methods: Pooled data from three cross-sectio...
Article
Purpose: Sextortion (threats to expose sexual images to coerce victims to provide additional pictures, sex, or other favors) has been identified as an emerging online threat to youth, but research is scarce. We describe sextortion incidents from a large sample of victims (n = 1,385) and examine whether incidents occurring to minors (n = 572) are m...
Technical Report
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To encourage healthy development in children and youth, a better understanding is needed of how exposure to violence and victimization is situated within broader risk contexts as well as those that may be protective or encourage resilience (Merrick, Leeb, and Lee, 2013; Turner, 2010; Turner, Finkelhor, and Ormrod, 2006). This bulletin describes the...
Article
This article argues that it is still premature to start widespread screening for adverse childhood experiences (ACE) in health care settings until we have answers to several important questions: 1) what are the effective interventions and responses we need to have in place to offer to those with positive ACE screening, 2) what are the potential neg...
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Objective: Children with a physical disability, psychological disorder, or of nonnormative weight are often targets of peer victimization. Sibling victimization, however, is more common than peer victimization, but rarely explored. We investigated linkages between sibling victimization and whether children had a physical disability, psychological...
Article
The trends and correlates of child and juvenile homicide rates in three developmental age groups (0-5, 6-11, and 12-17) during 1990–2013 in Mexico are examined by using vital statistical data. Homicide rates for adults and children were calculated yearly and the place where homicides occurred and the means used to commit homicide examined. Changes...
Article
Victimization of Mexican youth (aged 12–17) has received little attention compared to that of adults. Using the 2014 Social Survey on Social Cohesion for the Prevention of Violence and Delinquency, we examine prevalence and types of victimization; describe the characteristics of incidents in terms of relationship with perpetrator(s) and places wher...
Article
This study compares children and youth who have experienced lifetime war-related parental absence or deployment with those having no such history on a variety of victimization types, non-victimization adversity, trauma symptoms, and delinquency; and assesses whether cumulative adversity and victimization help to explain elevated emotional and behav...
Article
Objective: To understand the role of family adversity in the onset and desistance of sibling victimization, we examined school-age children's sibling victimization patterns using 2 waves of longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample. Method: Parents of children aged 5-9 and children aged 10-12 years old (N = 945, Mage = 8.5 years, 52...
Article
This study examined the prevalence and characteristics of family abduction episodes occurring in a nationally representative sample of US children ages 0–17. It drew on the experiences of 13,052 children and youth from the aggregation of three cross-sectional waves (2008, 2011, and 2014) of the National Surveys of Children Exposed to Violence. The...
Article
Purpose: To test a behaviorally specific measure of serious peer victimization, called aggravated peer victimization (APV), using empirically derived aggravating elements of episodes (injury, weapon, bias content, sexual content, multiple perpetrators, and multiple contexts) and compare this measure with the conventional Olweus bullying (OB) measu...
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Research on child maltreatment epidemiology has primarily been focused on population surveys with adult respondents. Far less attention has been paid to analyzing reported incidents of alleged child maltreatment and corresponding agency responses. This type of research is however indispensable to know how well a child protection system works and if...
Article
Importance Protecting children in youth-serving organizations is a national concern.Objective To provide clinicians, policymakers, and parents with estimates of children’s exposure to abuse in youth-serving organizations.Design, Setting, and Participants Telephone survey data from the 3 National Surveys of Children's Exposure to Violence (2008,...
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Sibling conflict and aggression is often a pervasive part of family life that parents want help managing and can have negative effects on children's well-being. The purpose of this systematic review is to evaluate current research regarding programs to reduce sibling conflict and aggression and promote positive sibling relationships. Online databas...
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Several strands of research are consistent with the possibility that expansions in psychiatric medication usage have reduced crime and delinquency. Estimates suggest that medication usage has increased to as much as 9% of the youth population and up to 20% of the adult population in the United States and is high among populations associated with th...
Article
Purpose: The current research used latent class analysis to uncover groups of youth with specific victimization profiles and identify factors that are associated with membership in each victimization group. Methods: This study used data from National Survey of Children Exposure to Violence II. Random digit dialing and address-based sampling were...
Research
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Stressful life events are common challenges to character and coping and a frequent theme in expressive writing. The Life Paths measure is adapted from the National Survey for Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV; Turner et al., 2013). The original measure contains 16 items, of which we chose 11 to best suit our target population.
Research
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The Financial Strain Index is designed to assess a lack of ability to meet current financial needs. Income alone is not a sufficient indication of financial stability, and in recent years, it has become more apparent that people who would typically fall into a middle-class economic bracket (or even higher) may also feel the effects of financial str...
Article
This study examines whether the items from the original Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) scale can be improved in their prediction of health outcomes by adding some additional widely recognized childhood adversities. The analyses come from the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence 2014, a telephone survey conducted from August 2013...
Article
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Children and adolescents experience more violence, abuse, and criminal victimisation than do other segments of the population. Proper public health attention to this vulnerability is hampered by many things, but one of the most remediable is the fragmentation of the response system. Separate institutions, researchers, and advocacy groups lobby and...
Article
It is important to estimate the burden of and trends for violence, crime, and abuse in the lives of children. 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. The National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence...
Research
Full-text available
The Financial Strain Index is designed to assess concrete, observable measures that indicate a lack of financial resources. Income alone is not a sufficient indication of financial stability, and in recent years, it has become more apparent that people who would typically fall into a middle-class economic bracket may also feel the effects of financ...
Research
Full-text available
Lifetime adversity is a challenge to character and coping. The Life Paths measure is adapted from the National Survey for Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV). The original measure contains 16 items, of which we chose 11 to best suit our target population. We present all items with the same wording with which they are asked in the original mea...
Article
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Past research has demonstrated the particularly damaging effects of exposure to multiple forms of victimization, or "poly-victimization," on youth mental health. The primary objective of the present study is to begin to identify the mechanisms that help explain its powerful impact. Analyses are based on two waves of longitudinal data from the Natio...
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This study aims to present a qualitative, empirically based typology of offenders who use online communications to commit sex crimes against minors, including offenders who met victims online and those who knew them in advance. Seventy-five reports made by law enforcement officers were analyzed using a qualitative software program, during which a t...
Technical Report
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This toolkit, jointly published by WHO, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes against Children Research Center, provides academics and decision-makers with information on methodological strategies and tips to conduct national or regional surveillance studies of agency response to child maltrea...
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To estimate the health and economic burdens of child maltreatment in China. We did a systematic review for studies on child maltreatment in China using PubMed, Embase, PsycInfo, CINAHL-EBSCO, ERIC and the Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure databases. We did meta-analyses of studies that met inclusion criteria to estimate the prevalence of ch...
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Objective: To provide the first nationally representative data on service contact, police or advocate best practices, and helpseeking obstacles for family violence that involved exposure to children. Method: A nationally representative sample of 517 family violence incidents drawn from the 4,503 respondents to the National Survey of Children’s Expo...
Article
This study estimated the prevalence of child physical abuse in China, compared Chinese prevalence with international and Asian estimates, and ascertained whether some differences in sample characteristics and methodological factors (e.g., time prevalence, definitional or regional difference) help explain variations in Chinese rates. Based on a meta...
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This national household telephone survey of youth and parents assessed exposure to a broad range of at-school victimizations among a representative sample of 3,391 children and youth ages 5 to 17. Nearly half the sample (48%) had been exposed to at least one form of victimization at school during the past year (in 2011), most of which was intimidat...
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This study sought to identify features of peer victimization that aggravate negative outcomes in children. The features that were assessed include "power imbalance," a commonly used criterion in defining bullying, and 5 other characteristics: injury, weapon involvement, Internet involvement, sexual content, and bias content. Three outcomes were ass...
Article
Purpose To estimate the likelihood that a recent cohort of children would be exposed to sexual abuse and sexual assault by age 17 in the United States. Methods This analysis draws on three very similarly designed national telephone surveys of youth in 2003, 2008, and 2011, resulting in a pooled sample of 708 17-year-olds, 781 15-year-olds, and 804...
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This study is one of the first that investigated youth's response to unwanted Internet experiences, not only for those youth who were bothered or distressed but for all youth who reported the experience. Three types of response were examined: telling someone about the incident and ending the unwanted situation by active or passive coping. Responses...
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This research examines how family dynamics like interparental conflict, family violence, and quality of parenting are associated with young children's experiences of sibling victimization. We use nationally representative data from interviews with caregivers of 1,726 children aged 2 to 9 years of age. We hypothesized different family dynamics predi...
Article
The goal of this commentary is to articulate some issues and dilemmas raised by various efforts to mobilize international action around child abuse and neglect (CAN). We will start by proposing a typology of international mobilization strategies, noting that initiatives to promote CAN programming in new settings have tended to emphasize one of thre...
Article
This paper reports on national estimates for past year child maltreatment from a national household survey conducted in 2011. It also discusses the validity of such estimates in light of other available epidemiology. The Second National Survey of Children Exposed to Violence obtained rates based on 4,503 children and youth from interviews with care...
Article
This commentary on Livingstone and Smith (Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55, 2014, XXX) suggests that more attention should be paid to a set of hypotheses about technology that contrasts with those that have animated much of the current research interest: (a) That the digital environment is no more perilous and perhaps less perilous th...
Article
This study examined how victimizations by either a sibling or peer are linked to each other and to mental health in childhood and adolescence. The data were from the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence which includes a sample of children aged 3-9 (N=1,536) and adolescents aged 10-17 (N=1,523) gathered through telephone interviews. An...
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Importance: The study suggests that years of public policy designed to reduce the burden of violence and victimization among youths is having some success. Objective: To identify trends in children's exposure to violence, crime, and abuse from 2003 through 2011. Design, setting, and participants: Three national telephone surveys of representat...
Article
This paper assesses how many children and youth have had exposure to programs aimed at preventing various kinds of violence perpetration and victimization. Based on a national sample of children 5–17, 65% had ever been exposed to a violence prevention program, 55% in the past year. Most respondents (71%) rated the programs as very or somewhat helpf...
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L’objectif etait de tester l’hypothese selon laquelle une exposition generale a la victimisation, ou victimisation multiple, expliquerait une conclusion de recherche frequente : la victimisation sexuelle accroit le risque de victimisation sexuelle ulterieure. L’etude utilise les donnees de deux phases de la National Survey of Children’s Exposure to...
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Most interest in violence and gender has focused on certain types of victimization such as sex offenses and relational aggression. This study examined gender patterns across numerous forms of youth victimization. The data are from the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV), a nationally representative U.S. sample of 4,549 chil...
Technical Report
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The association between delinquency and victimization is a common focus in juvenile justice research. Some observers have found that victimization and delinquency largely overlap, with most victims engaging in delinquency and most delinquents being victimized at some point in their lives (Lauritsen, Laub, and Sampson, 1992; Lauritsen, Sampson, and...
Article
To assess whether youth are upset by being asked questions about sensitive kinds of abuse, victimization, family maltreatment, and sexual victimization in the course of standard epidemiological surveys. A national sample of youth aged 10-17 were interviewed on the telephone by experienced interviewers as part of the National Survey of Children Expo...
Article
Accumulating research suggests that rates of child sexual abuse are comparatively low in China. This commentary is an effort to evaluate whether it reflects a true lower prevalence or alternatively the effect of inhibited disclosure by victims. We conclude that while some estimates have almost certainly been affected by inhibited disclosure, the ov...
Article
To explore the decline in online sexual solicitations between 2000 and 2010 by examining the characteristics of solicitations to better inform prevention efforts. Data are from the Youth Internet Safety Surveys (YISS); three cross-sectional, nationally representative telephone surveys of 3561 youth Internet users in the United States, ages 10 throu...
Article
We examined cases in which sex offenders arrested for Internet-related crimes used the Internet for sexual communications with minors, comparing crimes by offenders who met victims online to those by offenders who knew victims in-person prior to the offense. We collected data from a national sample of law enforcement agencies (n = 2,653) about arre...
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Objective: Sibling aggression is common but often dismissed as benign. We examine whether being a victim of various forms of sibling aggression is associated with children's and adolescents' mental health distress. We also contrast the consequences of sibling versus peer aggression for children's and adolescents' mental health. Methods: We analy...
Article
Objective: To examine whether Chinese studies of child sexual abuse (CSA) in the general population show lower prevalence rates than other international studies, and whether certain features of these studies may help to account for variation in estimates. Methods: A meta-analysis and meta-regression were conducted on 27 studies found in the Engl...