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Child and Youth Victimization Known to Police, School, and Medical Authorities
(NCJ 235394) April 2012
OJJDP National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence Series, Bulletin, 8 page(s)
David Finkelhor, Richard Ormrod, Heather Turner, and Sherry Hamby
Presents the survey results from the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV) regarding authorities' knowledge of victimization incidents involving children and youth, particularly police, school, and medical authorities. Compared with a similar study in the early 1990s, the survey found that authorities were more likely to know about NatSCEV survey participants' exposure to violence, which may reflect efforts by authorities, criminal justice and child protection agencies, and advocates to promote disclosure. This increase in disclosure is also consistent with the decrease in child victimizations during the last two decades. The survey found that 46 percent of children who were victimized in the previous year had at least one victimization known to school, police, and medical authorities, with school authorities (e.g., teachers, principals, and counselors) being the most likely to know of the victimizations. However, police were most likely to know about many of the most serious victimizations. In general, authorities were most likely to know about serious victimizations, including sexual abuse by an adult, kidnapping, and gang or group assaults. They were least likely to know about victimizations committed by other youth, including peer and sibling assaults, dating violence, flashing, and completed or attempted rate. This bulletin also discusses factors that promote or hinder disclosure of victimization incidents to authorities, and the implications of the increase in disclosure for prevention and treatment. This is the fourth in a series of bulletins that present findings from NatSCEV, the most comprehensive nationwide survey to date of the incidence and prevalence of children’s exposure to violence across all ages, settings, and timeframes.