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Children's Exposure to Violence, Crime, and Abuse: An Update

NCJ Number
Date Published
David Finkelhor, Heather Turner, Anne Shattuck,
Sherry Hamby, and Kristen Kracke
Publication Type
This bulletin discusses the second National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV II), which was conducted in 2011 as a followup to the original NatSCEV I survey.
NatSCEV I was the first comprehensive national survey of children’s (1 month to 17 years old) past year and lifetime exposure to violence, crime, and abuse in the home, school and community. Generally, NatSCEV II confirms the earlier survey’s findings. Approximately three in five children (57.7 percent) experienced at least one exposure to five aggregate types of violence in the past year (physical assault, sexual victimization, maltreatment, property victimization, and witnessing violence). Among the individual categories of exposure to violence, declines outnumbered increases; however, significant change occurred from 2008 (all declines) in exposure to only 6 of 54 types of exposure to violence. These declines were in property victimization and robbery (past year), being flashed by a peer (past year and lifetime), statutory sex offenses (past year and lifetime), school bomb threats (past year and lifetime), and assault by juvenile siblings (lifetime). Multiple exposures to violence among children and youth continued to be a concern, with 48.4 percent reporting more than one type of direct or witnessed victimization in the past year; 15.1 percent reported six or more types of direct or witnessed victimization, and 4.9 percent reported 10 or more types of direct or witnessed victimization over the same period. Implications of these findings are drawn for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers, as well as for interventions with children and families. 3 tables and 60 references
Date Created: September 30, 2019