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Child and Youth Victimization Known to Police, School, and Medical Authorities

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2012
8 pages
This survey provides an assessment on whether authorities, including police, school, and medical authorities, are identifying victimizations.
Findings show that 13 percent of children victimized in the previous year had at least one of their victimizations known to police, and 46 percent had one known to school, police, or medical authorities; authorities knew about a majority of serious victimizations, including incidents of sexual abuse by an adult, gang assaults, and kidnappings, but they were mostly unaware of other kinds of serious victimizations, such as dating violence and completed and attempted rape; school officials knew about victimization episodes considerably more often (42 percent) than police (13 percent) or medical personnel (2 percent), however, police were the most likely to know about kidnapping, neglect, and sexual abuse by an adult; and more victimization and abuse appears to be known to authorities currently than was the case in a comparable 1992 survey. These findings suggest both progress and challenges in the effort to identify abused and victimized children. The higher rates of victimizations known to authorities found in the NatSCEV study may mean that past efforts to promote disclosure have been working and need to be sustained. But the study also shows that a considerable portion of childhood exposure to victimization is still unknown to authorities. Findings suggest that more outreach is needed to boys, Hispanic youth, and higher socioeconomic status groups in particular. It also suggests that disclosure promotion needs to be directed toward episodes that involve family members and peer perpetrators. In addition to more education and awareness to encourage disclosure, communities need also to ensure that they have professionals trained in such evidence-based programs to work with children and families once victimization is disclosed. Table, endnotes, and references

Date Published: April 1, 2012