Children speaking up about crime, abuse: study

January 4, 2011 Comments Off on Children speaking up about crime, abuse: study

Children speaking up about crime, abuse: study (2011-01-03)
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Children are increasingly stepping forward and telling school officials, doctors and the police when they have been the victims of crime or abuse, U.S. researchers said on Monday. A telephone survey of more than 4,500 U.S. children and teens done in 2008 found that nearly half who experienced violence, abuse or crime told someone at school, the police or a doctor or nurse. That compares with 25 percent of cases in a similar study done in 1992, David Finkelhor of the University of New Hampshire and colleagues reported in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine….

More than 58 percent of the children and teens said they had been personally victimized at least once in the past year. This included bullying but did not include witnessing crime, such as domestic assault.
Nearly 46 percent said they had informed authorities of the victimization. This was especially true of more serious problems. For example, authorities had been told about 69 percent of the cases of sexual abuse by a known adult.

But children also spoke up about other problems, with 51.5 percent telling someone about emotional bullying, 48 percent telling someone about neglect and 47 percent telling authorities about a theft….

“That 58.3 percent of the children and adolescents in the study sample reported at least one direct victimization incident within the past year speaks to the enormity of the problem of victimization experienced by children and adolescents in our society,” Drs. Andrea Gottsegen Asnes and John Leventhal of Yale University School of Medicine in Connecticut wrote in a commentary in the same journal.

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