Developmental Victimization Survey

Summary. The Developmental Victimization Survey (DVS) is a longitudinal study designed to assess a comprehensive range of childhood victimizations across gender, race, and developmental stage. Data were collected, in two phases, using the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire (JVQ), developed by the Crimes against Children Research Center, and has provided important reliability and validation evidence for this comprehensive measure of victimization experiences. Mental health and delinquency measures, in addition to a variety of contextual variables, are assessed in each phase.


Given increasing concern over the magnitude and consequences of childhood adversity and children’s exposure to violence, research is needed that more accurately specifies the risk and outcomes of victimization across developmental stages. Such research depends upon the development of a comprehensive and valid measure for assessing childhood victimization across a wide range of ages. The Developmental Victimization Survey (DVS) is designed to meet these needs.

Goals and Objectives

  • Provide validation and reliability evidence for an updated version of the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire (JVQ), a newly constructed measure of childhood victimization. The JVQ covers a wide range of events, including non-violent victimizations and events that children and parents do not typically conceptualize as crimes;
  • Obtain one-year incidence and lifetime prevalence estimates of different forms of childhood victimization across gender, race, region and developmental stage. We will also be able to specify how different forms of victimization may “cluster” together and the extent to which particular risk factors are related to specific constellations of victimization experiences;
  • Examine associations between levels and types of victimization and childhood mental health. Selected dimensions of the Trauma Symptoms Checklist, including measures of depression, anxiety, and delinquency/externalizing behaviors will be assessed; and
  • Evaluate the validity of caregiver and child reports of victimization among 7-9 year olds. By comparing parental reports of different forms of victimizations experienced by 7-9 year olds with the reports given by the children themselves, we seek to determine the relative utility and accuracy of proxy vs. self-report in this age group.


Phase 1 of the survey, conducted between December, 2002, and February, 2003, collected data on the experiences of a nationally representative sample of 2,030 children age 2-17 years, living in the contiguous United States. Interviews with parents and youth were conducted over the phone by employees of an experienced survey research firm specially trained to talk with children and parents.

Phase 2 of the survey was conducted between December, 2003, and May, 2004, approximately one year after the initial baseline interview. The same interviewing procedures used in Phase 1 were implemented in this second cycle of data collection, with all questions about victimization types and circumstances repeated in Phase 2 to insure that comparable data were collected for the two years surveyed. A total of 1,467 respondents (72.3% of the baseline sample) were re-interviewed.

Data Analysis

Analysis of these data is on-going.



Director of Crimes against Children Research Center
Professor/Director, Crimes Against Children/Family Research
Phone: (603) 862-2761
Office: Sociology, McConnell Hall Rm 125D, Durham, NH 03824