Statistical Briefing Book > Juveniles in Corrections Previous Page
Victimization in Juvenile Facilities
Q: What proportion of youth report being sexually victimized in juvenile facilities?
A: According to the National Survey of Youth in Custody, the rate of sexual victimization of youth in facilities declined from 9.5% in 2012 to 7.1% in 2018.

National estimates of adjudicated youth reporting sexual victimization in juvenile facilities, 2012 and 2018

Type of Incident 2012 2018
Estimated number of adjudicated*
youth in placement
18,140 12,750
  Estimated number of victims 1,720 900
Percent of adjudicated youth
reporting any sexual victimization
9.5% 7.1%
Percent of adjudicated youth reporting:
Youth on youth victimization 2.5% 1.9%
Staff sexual misconduct 7.7% 5.8%
   Force reported 3.5% 2.1%
   No report of force 4.7% 3.9%

* Estimated number of adjudicated youth in state juvenile facilities and state contract facilities, i.e., committed youth. Youth were asked to report on any victimization involving another youth or facility staff in the past 12 months or since admission to the facility, if less than 12 months. Subgroups may not sum to total because youth may have reported multiple victimizations or due to item non-response.

  • Sexual victimization is defined as any forced or coerced sexual activity with another youth or any sexual activity with facility staff.
  • In 2018, 1.9% of youth reported sexual victimization by another youth, down from 2.5% in 2012.
  • In 2018, 5.8% of youth reported sexual misconduct by facility staff, and 2.1% reported sexual misconduct by facility staff that involved force or coercion, significantly below the levels reported in 2012.

  • Note: Data are based on the National Survey of Youth in Custody (conducted between February and September 2012 and between March and December 2018). The NSYC is based on a multi-stage probability sample providing representative data on adjudicated youth residing in facilities owned or operated by a state juvenile correctional authority and all state-placed adjudicated youth held under state contract in locally or privately operated juvenile facilities. The NSYC is part of BJS's National Prison Rape Statistics Program which was established to collect data on the incidence and prevalence of sexual assault in juvenile facilities under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA; P.L. 108-79).

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: Released on February 12, 2021.

Data Source: Beck, A., Cantor, D., Hartge, J., and Smith, T. (2013). Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2012. []
Smith, E.L. and Stroop, J. (2019). Sexual Victimization Reported by Youth in Juvenile Facilities, 2018 [].