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Lifetime Assessment of Poly-Victimization in a National Sample of Children and Youth

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2009
9 pages
This study examined the cumulative victimization experiences (poly-victimization) of children and compared these children to other victims and non-victims.
Findings show that nearly 80 percent of the children and youth reported at least one lifetime victimization; the total number of different lifetime victimizations was highly predictive of symptoms of current distress. Results demonstrate that the assessment of poly-victimization can be made in a context of a full lifetime inventory of victimizations, and that a scale derived from a weighted sum of the number of different kinds of lifetime victimizations is a very powerful predictor of distress and traumatic symptoms in children. The calculation of poly-victimization from a lifetime assessment in contrast to a single year provides a more complete inventory of victimizations. It removes a 1-year time frame, and more effectively fits within theory about serious childhood trauma, which sees the process as developmental while occurring over an extended period. Finally it accords a greater weight to experiences of child maltreatment and sexual assault, which in the developmental trauma literature, have typically been seen as more serious forms of victimization. Data were collected from 1,467 children, age 2 to 17, who participated in 2 waves of data collection obtained approximately 1 year apart using the Developmental Victimization Survey (DVS). Tables, figure, and references

Date Published: July 1, 2009