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Prevalence and Consequences of Child Victimization

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 1997
4 pages
Publication Series
Using telephone interviews with a random sample of 4,023 adolescents and preliminary 10-minute interviews with their parents or guardians, this study examined the prevalence and consequences of childhood victimization.
Adolescents were asked about their personal experiences of sexual assault and physical assault, violence they may have witnessed, their drug and alcohol use, their experience of posttraumatic stress disorder, and serious delinquency offenses they may have committed. The sample was evenly divided between male and female participants and had demographic characteristics similar to those of the general population of this age. Extrapolating the findings of this study to the national adolescent population as a whole suggests that of the 22.3 million adolescents ages 12-17 in the United States today, approximately 1.8 million have been victims of a serious sexual assault, 3.9 million have been victims of a serious physical assault, and almost 9 million have witnessed serious violence. Nearly 2 million have suffered (and over 1 million still suffer) from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and approximately 3.4 million have been drug or alcohol abusers as well. Analysis of the survey information shows a strong correlation between drug abuse and delinquency. Having been personally victimized and suffering from PTSD also are apparently strong predictors of delinquent behavior.

Date Published: April 1, 1997