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     National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence


The National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV) is the most comprehensive nationwide survey of the incidence and prevalence of children's exposure to violence to date. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has sponsored NatSCEV with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). OJJDP has administered NatSCEV three times through data collections in 2008 (NatSCEV I), 2011 (NatSCEV II), and 2014 (NatSCEV III). NatSCEV has produced national estimates on sensitive topics (direct victimization and indirect violence) with data collected from a hard-to-reach, vulnerable population. It measures the past-year and lifetime exposure to violence for children age 17 and younger across several major categories: conventional crime, child maltreatment, victimization by peers and siblings, sexual victimization, witnessing and indirect victimization (including exposure to community violence and family violence), school violence and threats, and Internet victimization.

Goals and Objectives:

The goal of NatSCEV was to develop a comprehensive surveillance system to measure and track youth victimization in the United States and to collect data on the safe, stable, and nurturing relationships that may serve as protective factors for vulnerable youth. NatSCEV marks the first comprehensive attempt to measure children's exposure to violence in their daily lives across the settings of home, school, and community. Specific goals of NatSCEV include:

  • Documenting the incidence and prevalence of children's exposure to violence in the United States in areas including family violence (with particular attention to domestic violence), school violence, and community violence.
  • Studying how rates of exposure to violence vary across demographic characteristics, such as gender, race, age, and family structure.
  • Assessing characteristics of each exposure to violence, such as the severity of the event and the child's relationship to the perpetrator.
  • Specifying how different forms of exposure to violence cluster or co-occur.
  • Identifying individual, family, and community characteristics that might be related to exposure to violence. Examples include:
    • Parent-child relationship characteristics, such as the degree to which they are stable and nurturing.
    • Parental supervision and monitoring.
    • Neighborhood characteristics, such as the presence of gangs.
    • Nature of peer relationships, including level of social support and associations with delinquent peers.
  • Examining associations between levels and types of exposure to violence and child mental health.
  • Assessing the extent to which children disclose incidents of violence to other individuals and, when applicable, the nature and source of assistance or treatment given to the child.


The grant project for NatSCEV has closed and has produced the publications below. OJJDP is currently conducting Methodological Research to Support the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence to develop improved methodological strategies to produce national estimates of children's exposure to violence.

Publications and Products:

The University of New Hampshire Crimes Against Children Research Center website provides additional information about NatSCEV.

OJJDP has published a series of NatSCEV bulletins that provide comprehensive survey results as well as select findings about different types of violence exposure.

Data from NatSCEV I, II, and III are available at the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data.

Contact Information:

Brecht Donoghue | 202-305-1270

Project Snapshot

Project Title: National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence

Grantee: University of New Hampshire

Award status: Closed

Type of research: Data collection and analysis

Related topical page: exposure to violence

Location of research: National

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