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Victimization in Juvenile Facilities
Q: Does the rate of sexual victimization in juvenile facilities vary by victim demographics?
A: Yes. Hispanic youth were less likely than white youth to report sexual victimization while in a juvenile facility, and lesbian/gay/bisexual youth were more likely to report sexual victimization than heterosexual youth.

Prevalence of sexual victimization reported by adjudicated
juveniles, by type of incident and youth demographics, 2018

Victim Demographic Percent of youth reporting victimization by:
Any sexual victimization1 Youth on youth victimization2 Staff sexual misconduct
Male 7.1% 1.6% 6.1%
Female 6.6% 4.7% 2.9%
Age 14 or younger 4.4% 2.3% 3.2%
Age 15 5.9% 1.6% 4.8%
Age 16 8.2% 2.4% 6.8%
Age 17 7.3% 2.4% 5.7%
Age 18 or older 7.1% 1.3% 6.1%
Race/Hispanic origin
White, non-Hispanic 8.5% 3.1% 6.3%
Black, non-Hispanic 7.3% 1.2% 6.7%
Hispanic 4.1% 1.0% 3.2%
Other, non-Hispanic3 4.7% 1.9% 3.8%
Two or more, non-Hispanic 6.8% 2.4% 4.0%
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual 6.5% 1.1% 5.9%
Lesbian/gay/bisexual/something else 12.0% 8.4% 5.5%
Not sure 6.2% 5.0% 4.7%
Gender identity
Gender identity same as sex recorded at birth 6.8% 1.6% 5.7%
Gender identity different from sex recorded at birth4 19.1% 14.3% 8.1%
Not sure 26.8% 19.3% 10.8%
Time in current facility
Less than 6 months 4.9% 1.2% 4.1%
6-11 months 8.3% 2.4% 6.6%
12 months or more 11.3% 3.1% 9.3%
Sexual victimization in lifetime
prior to entering current facility
Prior sexual victimization in another facility 51.0% 33.2% 30.3%
Prior sexual victimization but not in another facility 8.7% 3.6% 5.5%
No prior sexual victimization 5.9% 1.0% 5.3%

1These estimates may not equal the sum of youth-on-youth sexual victimization and staff sexual misconduct because some youth reported both types of victimization.
2Excludes acts in which there were no reports of force or coercion.
3Includes American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander.
4Includes youth who described their gender identity as "transgender," "something else," or a category other than what was recorded at birth.

  • Females were nearly 3 times more likely to report youth-on-youth victimization than males, but males were more than twice as likely to report sexual misconduct by facility staff.
  • Lesbian/gay/bisexual youth and youth unsure of the sexual orientation were considerably more likely to report youth on youth victimization than heterosexual youth. Similarly, youth who are unsure of their gender identify and those who identify as something other than their sex at birth were more likely to report sexual victimization than youth who identify as the same gender as recorded at birth.
  • The likelihood of a youth reporting sexual victimization increased as the amount of time the youth spent in a facility increased. For example, youth who had been in a facility for a year or more were more likely to report victimization than youth who had been in the facility for less than 6 months.

  • Note: Data are based on the third National Survey of Youth in Custody (conducted 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: Field, M.B. and Davis, E. (2020). Victim, Perpetrator, and Incident Characteristics of Sexual Victimization of Youth in Juvenile Facilities, 2018 Statistical Tables. Available from: