Broad Domain of Concern
The CCRC is concerned
with children and adolescents, from birth through age 17, and all
their crime victimizations, both within and outside the family,
both known and unknown to law enforcement.
acts as defined by law, such as sexual assault, abduction, theft,
robbery, and aggravated assault against children
abuse in all its forms--physical, sexual, emotional--and child
violence, such as peer and sibling assaults, which would be
considered criminal if the parties were adults
victimization, where children witness or are affected by the
crime victimization of a family member or friend
Pressing Need for Knowledge
and adolescents have among the highest rates of conventional crime
in addition, suffer from some crimes like sexual abuse and family
abduction specific to childhood.
Despite enormous publicity about crime and youth, however, this
high vulnerability is seldom mentioned.
The disproportionate number of youthful offenders is much more widely
recognized than the
disproportionate number of victims.
12-17 are two to three times more likely than adults to be the
victims of an assault, robbery, or rape, according to
the National Crime Victimization Survey1.
half of all rape victims are girls under the age of 182.
protection agencies substantiate more than one million cases
of child maltreatment annually3.
are three times more likely than adults to be seriously assaulted
by members of their families4.
are subject to crimes not suffered by adults, such as child
neglect, molestation, and family abduction.
Crimes against children also
deserve special attention because of their different and potentially
more severe consequences:
number of crimes perpetrated against children by family members
threatens the crucial formative environment of childhood
by disrupting and distorting important family relationships.
can derail normal, healthy child development. It can affect
personality formation, have long-term mental health consequences
and impact academic performance.
has consistently shown that exposure to crime and violence places
children at risk for serious delinquency.
of their dependency, children can suffer irreparably when parents
are traumatized by crime victimization and domestic violence.
The Crimes against
Children Research Center proposes four primary goals to comprise
and feasible policy for child victims within the criminal justice
recognition of the extent of victimization among the children
who come within the purview of the justice system by improved
history taking, assessment, record keeping, and exchange of
protection of child crime victims from continued victimization
and from unnecessary trauma and discomfort associated
with the workings of the justice system
rehabilitation of child crime victims through services and programs
to aid in recovery and minimize long term effects on development
public accountability by evaluating the impact of the justice
system's policies and programs on children
to Law Enforcement
and prosecution of crimes involving children and adolescents pose
special challenges for law enforcement--problems related to the
immaturity of children, their vulnerability to intimidation,
the prejudices of judges and juries, and the frequent involvement
of family members as perpetrators.
The justice system
has contact with juvenile victims in five main contexts, sometimes
explicitly in the role of victim and sometimes in other roles:
crime victims whose testimony is crucial in criminal investigations
and prosecutions, including sexually and physically assaulted
and abducted children, as well as children who witness domestic
and street crimes
of child abuse and neglect involved in child protection actions
exposed to domestic violence or family abductions, whose parents
are involved with the criminal justice system
criminal offenders, who frequently have histories of crime and
status offenders, who also tend to have histories of crime and
The passage of
young victims through the justice system at these various levels
provides opportunities to identify them and provide them with
help. The CCRC is committed to develop knowledge that will
assist the creation of appropriate programs and policies for these
The Crimes against
Children Research Center is undertaking a variety of important tasks
to promote knowledge and improve strategies for preventing
crimes against children and helping victims and families.
Policy reports on key current issues
There is a pressing
need for knowledgeable experts to summarize and disseminate research
on key policy issues.
National and local statistics on crimes against children
CCRC will promote the inclusion of data about crimes against
child victims in all national crime statistics.
will help generate child victimization data using the new National
Incident Based Reporting System.
will test ways in which crime victimization information for
all children can be collected via self-report and caretaker
Tools for practitioners and researchers
The CCRC will
create, test, and disseminate developmentally appropriate screening
instruments to assess exposure to crime and violence usable in both
research and practice settings, such as school guidance offices,
pediatric clinics, and battered women's shelters.
Promoting crime reporting and help-seeking
The CCRC is
committed to developing strategies to promote reporting of crimes
against children and the provision of services to child victims
and their families.
Evaluating state-of-the-art prevention and intervention programs
programs to prevent child victimization have been created for schools
and families. The CCRC will assist school administrators,
law enforcement officials, and parents to select among effective
Training practitioners and researchers
The CCRC will
organize courses and workshops for law enforcement and child welfare
practitioners, as well as fellowships for researchers and
Monitoring and interpreting trends
The CCRC will
draw attention to new developments and trends by publishing briefing
papers, disseminating research, and discussing its implications.
History, Funding, and Staff
The Crimes against
Children Research Center was created in 1998 at the University of
New Hampshire. It grew out of and expands upon the work of
the Family Research Laboratory, which has been devoted to
the study of family violence and related topics since 1975. Associated
with the Center is an internationally recognized group of
experts who have published numerous books and articles concerning
the incidence and impact of violence against children.
CCRC staff have contributed
to many pioneering national crime studies, including:
Incidence Study of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway
Family Violence Survey
Youth Victimization Prevention Survey
Survey of Sexual Abuse in Day Care
||Developmental Victimization Survey
||Youth Internet Safety Survey
||Second Youth Internet Safety Survey
||Multi-Site Evaluation of Children's Advocacy Centers
for the CCRC was provided by the US Department of Justice, Office
of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The Center
will also draw on funding from grants, individual gifts, revenues
from publications and programs, and state and federal sources.
The CCRC is directed
by David Finkelhor, who is also the Co-director of the Family
Research Laboratory and Professor of Sociology at the University
of New Hampshire. Dr. Finkelhor has been researching criminal violence
against children since 1978 and is the author and editor of
10 books and more than 100 articles on the subject.
Hashima & Finkelhor (1999)
2 Kilpatrick (1992)
3 NCANDS (1998)
4 Straus & Gelles (1980)