Juveniles of all ages are the victims of violent crime. Some of their offenders are family members; this is often the case for very young victims. Some juveniles are the victims of abuse and neglect at the hands of their caregivers. Research has shown that child victimization and abuse are linked to problem behaviors that become evident later in life. So an understanding of childhood victimization and its trends may lead to a better understanding of juvenile offending.
This chapter summarizes what is known about the prevalence and incidence of juvenile victimizations. It answers important questions to assist policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and concerned citizens in developing policies and programs to ensure the safety and well-being of children. How often are juveniles the victims of crime? How many are murdered each year? How often are firearms involved? Who are their offenders? How many youth commit suicide? How many children are victims of crime at school? What are the characteristics of school crime? When are juveniles most likely to become victims of crime? What is known about missing and runaway youth? How many children are abused and neglected annually? What are the trends in child maltreatment?
Data sources include the Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Crime Victimization Survey and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Supplementary Homicide Reporting Program and its National Incident-Based Reporting System. School victimization data are drawn from both the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Child maltreatment is reported by the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect. Data from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children are presented, as well as suicide information from the National Center for Health Statistics.