Children are still exposed to far too much violence

From JAMA Pediatrics,

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 (NarSCEV) 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.

Violence against children is a significant issue. How often does it occur? This is an attempt to give us some numbers.

More than 37% of youth experienced a physical assault, as defined by the researchers, in the study year; more than half had experienced at least one in their lifetime. More than 9% experienced an assault-related injury in the study year.

Two percent of girls experienced a sexual assault or sexual abuse, as did 4.6% of girls 14 to 17 years old.

More than 15% were mistreated by a caregiver, and one-third of that was physical abuse.

Almost 6% of children witnessed an assault between parents.

There were only two significant changes in these data from 2011. The first was a decline in exposure to dating violence. The second was lifetime exposure to household theft. Both of those things are good, but the overall numbers show we have a lot of work to do.

I encourage you to go read the whole manuscript.


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