Many Unaware of Legal Responsibility to Report Child Abuse
A landmark study by researchers at the University of New Hampshire finds gaps regarding awareness of mandatory reporting laws among the general public in New Hampshire, a state where all adults are required by law to report suspected child abuse to authorities, as well as misperceptions that reporting suspected abuse may lead to worse outcomes for children
Updated Trends in Child Maltreatment, 2014
Welcome to the Crimes Against Children Research Center
Sextortion has Painful Aftermath and Limited Resources for Support
A survey of more than 1,600 victims of sextortion highlights how threats to expose sexual images can spark life-altering crises in the lives of young people, according to new research by the Crimes against Children Research Center in partnership with Thorn.
Child Victims of Stereotypical Kidnappings Known to Law Enforcement in 2011
This bulletin summarizes findings on the incidence and characteristics of stereotypical kidnappings of children in 2011 and compares them with 1997 findings. The key findings include the following:
- An estimated 105 children were victims of stereotypical kidnappings in 2011, virtually the same as the 1997 estimate. Most kidnappings involved the use of force or threats, and about three in five victims were sexually assaulted, abused, or exploited.
- Victims were, most commonly, ages 12 to 17, girls, white, and living in situations other than with two biological or adoptive parents. Half of all stereotypical kidnappings in 2011 were sexually motivated crimes against adolescent girls.
- Most perpetrators of 2011 stereotypical kidnappings were male, were ages 18 to 35, and were white or black in equal proportions. About 70 percent were unemployed, and roughly half had problems with drugs or alcohol.
National Study Finds That Bystanders Support Victims of Harassment and Bullying More Often Than Commonly Thought
This paper reports on a CCRC study that found that in contrast to previous studies, youth victims of in-person and online harassment and bullying report that in most cases, bystanders tried to help them. Bystanders are present for the majority of harassment incidents (80%). In about 70% of these cases, victims report that a bystander tried to make them feel better. Negative bystander reactions, though considerably less frequent, still occurred in nearly a quarter of incidents and were associated with a significantly higher negative impact on the victim.
Beyond Bullying: Aggravating Elements of Peer Victimization Episodes
This article addresses questions about how to define “bullying” and distinguish more and less serious forms of peer victimization. The study shows that in peer victimization episode, there are features other than “power imbalance” that contribute independently to negative impact. These features include prominently sexual content, as well as weapon involvement and injury. The implication is that policy needs to focus on a broader range of episodes than simply bullying with its emphasis on power imbalance.
Cyberbullying Less Emotionally Harmful To Kids Than In-Person Harassment, Study Finds
Contrary to popular belief, cyberbullying that starts and stays online is no more emotionally harmful to youngsters than harassment that only occurs in-person and may actually be less disturbing because it’s likelier to be of shorter duration and not involve significant power imbalances, according to a CCRC study published by the American Psychological Association.
Weapon Involvement in the Victimization of Children
Estimates from the Second National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence indicate that more than 17.5 million youth in the United States have been exposed to violence involving a weapon in their lifetimes as witnesses or victims, or more than 1 in 4 children, according to a CCRC paper published in Pediatrics. More than 2 million youth in the United States (1 in 33) have been directly assaulted in incidents where the high lethality risk weapons of guns and knives were used.
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
Op-Ed (The Conversation) How sexual partner abuse has changed with social media
In a large study the CCRC recently did on sexual partner abuse and social media, we found that sextortion mostly involves the classic dynamics of abusive relationships, or malicious online seducers with a few digital-age twists. The dynamics are offensive and manipulative, to be sure, but also sadly familiar. Similar dynamics have been seen in CCRC research about sexting and other internet-related sex crimes.
Op-Ed (Washington Post): Banning apps won’t protect kids from predators. They’re in danger offline, too.
Lovell’s horrific case stokes our fear of a misleading archetype: the stranger abductor/molester/killer. After waning over time, this fear has grown, thanks to the notion that the Internet gives strangers access to our children on an order previously unseen. But this particular anxiety actually threatens to divert us from important strides we’ve made over the last generation in understanding how to bolster children’s safety. We need to keep in mind the atypical features of this type of crime.
Op-Ed (Concord Monitor): ‘Bystanders’ are key to preventing sexual assault
A new generation of programs for adolescents, such as “Coaching Boys Into Men,” “Green Dot” and “Shifting Boundaries,” target “bystanders” rather than potential perpetrators or victims of sexual assault. These programs are proving to be effective at reducing rates of sexual assault and other forms of violence and increasing support for victims.