Some children are the unfortunate targets of many different kinds of victimization at the hands of a variety of offenders over a short period of time. For example, they experience physical and emotional abuse by caregivers, assaults and harassment by peers, sexual vicimizations by acquaintances and strangers and are exposed to crime and violence in their communities and neighborhoods.
- In a CCRC study, 10% of children in a national sample reported four or more different kinds of victimization in a single year.
- Once children become poly-victims, their risk for additional victimization tends to remain very elevated.
- Poly-victims have extremely high levels of traumatic stress symptoms. The undetected presence of such multiple victimization exposure among research samples of children identified because of a single victimization type (victims of sexual abuse or bullying) may be what accounts for a considerable portion of the association between these individual victimizations and traumatic symptom measures.
- If researchers and practitioners can more effectively identify poly-victims and those on the path to becoming poly-victims, they might be able to direct prevention resources to forestall the most serious victimization careers and most adversely affected children.