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Self-Reports of Early Childhood Victimization Among Incarcerated Adult Male Felons

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 13 Issue: 3 Dated: June 1998 Pages: 346-361
Date Published
16 pages

This article reports on the incidence of early childhood victimization among incarcerated adult male felons.


A retrospective assessment of childhood victimization (physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect) was based on self-reports from a sample of 301 convicted adult male felons randomly selected from a New York State medium-correctional facility, using a structured interview with known psychometric properties. Overall, 68 percent of the sample reported some form of childhood victimization, although the percentage varied depending on the measure used to assess childhood abuse experiences. Violent offenders reported significantly more childhood neglect than nonviolent offenders but not more physical abuse. On an overall index of childhood sexual abuse, sex offenders reported higher rates of childhood sexual abuse than other offenders (26.3 percent vs. 12.5 percent). While some researchers have been concerned about overreporting of childhood victimization experiences by offenders hoping to mitigate their criminal responsibility or influence parole boards, evidence does not support this assumption. Underreporting may be more probable by individuals who fear the appearance of vulnerability within the prison setting. Tables, note, references

Date Published: January 1, 1998