Polyvictimization ACES (adverse childhood experiences)

  • children walking

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.

Featured Articles

This paper hypothesizes that a more complete assessment of the number of different victimization types to which children are exposed will reveal a gro... Learn More
Some children, whom we have labeled poly-victims, experience very high levels of victimizations of different types. This article finds support for a c... Learn More
Children victimized in different ways and in different contexts are more affected than children repeatedly victimized by just one person or in just on... Learn More