March | April 2016

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Picture of fearful little boy
    

Every April since 1983, families and communities have come together to observe National Child Abuse Prevention Month by renewing their commitment to raise public awareness and increase knowledge about evidence-based strategies to address the problem. Advances in neuroscience and child development  research have taught us that the trauma children experience when they are exposed to physical, sexual, and emotional violence can scar them well into their adult lives.

Following are just a few examples of OJJDP’s ongoing work to assist families, communities, and service providers in
promoting the safety and well-being of our nation’s
children.

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OJJDP envisions a nation where our children are healthy, educated, and free from violence. If they come into contact with the juvenile justice system, the contact should be rare, fair, and beneficial to them.
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In 2011, reported rates of lifetime exposure to violence continued to be high, especially for youth ages 14–17, showing how exposure to violence accumulates as a child grows. Approximately 70 percent of these youth had been assaulted during their lifetimes, and a similar proportion (71.5 percent) witnessed violence during their lifetimes. Lifetime exposure to major categories of violence for all youth surveyed in 2011 ranged from approximately 1 in 10 (9.5 percent) for sexual victimization to more than half (54.5 percent) for any assault.

Children’s Exposure to Violence, Crime, and Abuse: An Update   
OJJDP National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence Series