National statistics from 2012 showed increases in some forms of child maltreatment for the first time in many years. While overall substantiated child maltreatment was flat from 2011 to 2012, there was a 2% rise in sexual abuse and a 5% rise in physical abuse. Neglect declined 3% but child maltreatment fatalities rose 4% from 1,557 to 1,620.
Lifetime Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault
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The Lifetime Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault Assessed in Late Adolescence
Self-report surveys in late adolescence reveal high rates of lifetime experience with sexual abuse and sexual assault at the hands of both adults and peers. Because of high continuing victimization during the late teen years, assessments are most complete when conducted among the oldest youth.
Commentary: Cause for alarm? Youth and internet risk research – a commentary on Livingstone and Smith (2014)
If you have spent any time with young people in the last 10 years, you know how enthralled they are by the electronic technology. But if you review the research on youth and technology, the themes are mostly about danger and distress.
Is this because the technology is indeed a new ‘pied piper’ seducing innocents into dangers unaware? Or is this the sign of a generational-gap alarmism that has discounted what youth are really experiencing?
This commentary on Livingstone and Smith (Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55, 2014, 655-658) suggests that more attention should be paid to a set of hypotheses about technology that contrasts with those that have animated much of the current research interest: (a) That the digital environment is no more perilous and perhaps less perilous than other offline environments youth inhabit; (b) That the problems the digital technology poses are not unique, but rather extensions of social interaction or media consumption problems that cut across many environments and are best conceptualized holistically rather than as special; and (c) That the appropriate responses should not be specialized Internet safety training but more generic education about life skills, social interaction, emotional intelligence, and media literacy. The commentary also argues for more research that reflects and tries to illuminate the basis for the excitement and enthusiasm that the young have for the technology.
Trends in Children's Exposure to Violence, 2003-2011
Rates of violent crime have declined in the United States since the mid-1990s. This decline includes violent crimes, property crimes, and sex crimes. Children may also have benefitted from these trends. For example, rates of physical and sexual abuse substantiated by child protection authorities declined 56% and 63%, respectively, from 1992 to 2011. Violence against youth aged 12 to 17 years, measured by self-report surveys such as the National Crime Victimization Survey, also declined substantially from the mid-1990s onward. Surveys of bullying and school violence have shown similar large drops.
In the News
CNN Commentary: Child prostitution and Trafficking: Sex ring sting….
Kudos to the FBI and its partners for bringing needed attention to the neglected problem of juveniles engaged in prostitution. On Monday, they announced the results of Operation Cross Country, a coordinated multi-agency campaign in which 150 alleged pimps were arrested in a three-day sweep in 76 cities. But it's a complex problem requiring a lot more than the arrest of pimps.
The notion of a stranger grabbing a child off the street occupies a prominent place in popular fears. But the missing-children cases that rise to the level of news tend to distort perceptions of how often children go missing and why. It’s important to sort out the myth and reality about missing kids.