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Crimes Against Children Research Center








The mission of the Crimes Against Children Research Center is to combat crimes against children by providing high-quality research and statistics to the public, policymakers, law enforcement personnel, and other child welfare practitioners. The center focuses on children and adolescents, from birth through age 17, who have been victimized, both within and outside the family. Types of victimization addressed by the center include:
  • Criminal acts as defined by law, such as sexual assault, abduction, theft, robbery, and aggravated assault against children.
  • Child abuse in all its forms—physical, sexual, emotional—and child neglect.
  • Child-to-child violence, such as peer and sibling assaults, which would be considered criminal if the parties were adults.
  • Indirect victimization, where children witness or are affected by the victimization of a family member or friend.
The center, which was created in 1998 at the University of New Hampshire, grew out of and expands upon the work of the Family Research Laboratory, which has been devoted to the study of family violence and related topics since 1975. Associated with the center is an internationally recognized group of experts who have published numerous books and articles concerning the incidence and impact of violence against children.

Center staff have contributed to many pioneering national crime studies, including:
  • National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children.
  • National Family Violence Survey.
  • National Youth Victimization Prevention Survey.
  • National Survey of Sexual Abuse in Day Care.
  • Youth Internet Safety Survey.
  • National Juvenile Online Victimization Study.
The center is directed by David Finkelhor, Ph.D., who is also the Co-Director of the Family Research Laboratory and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire. Dr. Finkelhor has been researching criminal violence against children since 1978 and is the author and editor of 11 books and more than 150 journal articles and book chapters.
The Crimes Against Children Research Center is supported through an annual earmarked cooperative agreement with OJJDP. The center will also draw on funding from grants, individual gifts, revenues from publications and programs, and state and federal sources.
Training and Technical AssistanceTop  
The Crimes Against Children Research Center is undertaking various important tasks to increase knowledge and improve strategies for preventing crimes against children and helping victims and families, including the following training and technical assistance activities:
  • Developing tools for practitioners and researchers. The center will create, test, and disseminate developmentally appropriate screening instruments usable in both research and practice settings (e.g., school guidance offices, pediatric clinics, battered women’s shelters) to assess exposure to crime and violence.
  • Evaluating state-of-the-art prevention and intervention programs. Hundreds of programs to prevent child victimization have been created for schools and families. The center will assist school administrators, law enforcement officials, and parents to select among effective programs.
  • Training practitioners and researchers. The center will organize courses and workshops for law enforcement and child welfare practitioners and fellowships for researchers and graduate students.
Policy and Procedure Contact(s)
Crimes Against Children Research Center
University of New Hampshire
15 Academic Way
#125 McConnell Hall
Durham, NH 03824
OJJDP Publication(s)
Choosing and Using Child Victimization Questionnaires
Bulletin: Crimes Against Children Series, March 2001. Presents information on questionnaires designed to elicit information about child victimization. 16 pages. NCJ 186027.
PDF(121 KB)HTML(7.59 KB) 
The Decline in Child Sexual Abuse Cases
Bulletin: Crimes Against Children Series, January 2001. Analyzes statistics concerning reported and substantiated cases of child sexual abuse. 12 pages. NCJ 184741.
PDF(144 KB)HTML(6.74 KB) 
Juveniles Who Commit Sex Offenses Against Minors
Bulletin: Crimes Against Children Series, December 2009. Presents population-based epidemiological information about the characteristics of juvenile offenders who commit sex offenses against minors. 12 pages. NCJ 227763.
PDF(2 MB) 

Crimes Against Children Research Center
Provides a general overview of the center and links to the center’s publications and current projects.