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Many U.S. Kids Victims of Violence, Abuse: Survey
Date:5/13/2013

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- Children in the United States are exposed to a high rate of violence in their everyday lives, according to a new national survey.

The survey found that children wander through a world of violence that runs the gamut from school bullying and playground assault to sexual abuse and domestic violence.

For example, the survey found that four of every 10 kids in America say they experienced a physical assault during the past year, with one in 10 receiving an assault-related injury, said study author David Finkelhor, a professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire.

"We do tolerate a lot more violence in the lives of our kids and we assume it's not as impactful as it would be in us, and I'm not sure that is so," said Finkelhor, also director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center. "What I like to say is, how many times have you been hit in the last year? Most middle-class Americans wouldn't accept being hit by a co-worker, but they shrug off a child being hit on the playground."

The survey, appearing online May 13 in JAMA Pediatrics, also found the following:

  • Two percent of all children experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse during the past year, with the rate at nearly 11 percent for girls aged 14 to 17 years.
  • Nearly 14 percent of children repeatedly experienced maltreatment by a caregiver, including nearly 4 percent who experienced physical abuse.
  • One in four kids was the victim of robbery, vandalism or theft during the previous year.
  • More than 13 percent of kids reported being physically bullied, while more than one in three kids said they had been emotionally bullied.
  • One in five kids had witnessed violence in their family or their neighborhood during the previous year.

Researchers gathered this information through random telephone interviews in
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