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Child and Youth Exposure to Violence in Illinois

NCJ Number
Jaclyn Houston Kolnik; Paola Baldo
Date Published
March 2019
10 pages
This report presents an overview of data available on various forms of childhood victimization and exposure to violence in Illinois.
Although sophisticated analyses of multiple factors are needed to provide a full understanding of childhood victimizations and exposure to violence in Illinois, data needed to conduct such an analysis are not available. A victim needs assessment conducted in Illinois in 2016 found that of those who reported they had been a victim of a crime, 20 percent had experienced physical child abuse, and 20 percent had experienced child sexual abuse; 8 percent had experienced both physical and sexual child abuse. Of victims who had experienced child physical abuse, 31 percent reported this experience as the one that most impacted them; of those who had experienced child sexual abuse, 58 percent selected this as the most impactful experience. Data maintained by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services indicated there were 120,828 reports of child abuse and neglect in 2016 and 7,743 reports of child sexual abuse, with 25 percent of both types of these reports confirmed. Based on such data, this report provides recommendations for addressing childhood victimization. Recommendations include offering services that address childhood victimization by focusing on families and caregivers; training individuals in organizations that regularly interact with children in the identification of and responses to traumatic victimization; exploring responses to children that engage multiple systems, so as to improve support for child victims and their families; and identify and develop programs that address complex trauma cases that stem from childhood violent victimization. 1 figure and 31 references