This research effort was part of the Project on Human Development
in Chicago Neighborhoods, which is a long-range study of the
determinants of antisocial behavior, delinquency and crime, and
substance abuse. A new measurement tool covers multiple aspects
of violence. It includes witnessing violence as well as
experiencing violence, covers a range from less serious to more
serious events, and also extends to sexual violence. It was used
in a pilot test that consisted of interviews with 80 people who
are part of the ongoing project. They were asked about their
lifetime and recent (past year) exposure to 18 different violent
events that they had either witnessed or personally experienced.
The findings revealed a wide range of exposure to violence, from
88 percent who said they had seen someone hit during their
lifetime to the 3 percent who had been sexually assaulted during
the past year. Violent victimization in this sample of urban
youth was also common, with 8 percent reporting that in the past
year they were shot at, 15 percent saying they were attacked with
a weapon, and 31 percent saying they were hit; one in seven (14
percent) had been sexually assaulted during his/her lifetime.
Data are also reported on patterns of exposure to violence and
neighborhood violence. The paper concludes with a discussion of
the expanded use of the instrument.