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Children's Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2009
12 pages
This report presents background information on and the methodology, findings, and implications of the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV), the most comprehensive nationwide survey of the incidence and prevalence of children's exposure to violence to date.
The survey indicates that most children in the United States are exposed to violence in their daily lives. Just over 60 percent of the children surveyed were exposed to violence within the past year, either directly or indirectly (i.e., as a witness to a violent act, by learning of violence against someone they knew, or from a threat against their home or school). Nearly one-half of the children and adolescents surveyed were assaulted at least once in the past year, and 10.2 percent were injured in an assault; 24.6 percent were victims of robbery, vandalism, or theft; 10.2 percent suffered from maltreatment; and 6.1 percent were sexually victimized. A violent act was witnessed by 9.8 percent of respondents, and 38.7 percent experienced 2 or more direct victimizations in the previous year; 10.9 percent experienced 5 or more direct victimization in the previous year; and 1.4 percent experienced 10 or more direct victimizations in the previous year. The discussion of implications for policymakers, researchers, and practitioners focuses on understanding the progression of violence, expanding the inquiry, monitoring exposure over time, reaching across disciplines, expanding identification capabilities, and coordinating across sectors. The survey, which was conducted between January and May 2008, measured the past-year and lifetime exposure to violence for children ages 17 and younger across several categories of violence: conventional crime, child maltreatment, victimization by peers and siblings, sexual victimization, witnessing and indirect victimization, school violence and threats, and Internet victimization. 1 figure, 8 notes, and 29 references

Date Published: October 1, 2009