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

2011 with about 4,500 children aged 1 month to 17 years old or their caregivers, in the case of children younger than 10.

Those numbers actually seem low to Dr. Michael Brody, a child psychiatrist in Potomac, Md., and spokesman for the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

"I think, unfortunately, this is so endemic to our society, it's overlooked," said Brody, who often works with victims of childhood violence. "It is considered like a cold."

Witnessing or experiencing violence as a child leaves psychic scars that lead to rage, lack of security, feelings of powerlessness, nightmares and other aftereffects that can haunt people into adulthood, Brody said.

"We take it in as part of our identity and our soul, and sometimes it leaks out," he said.

Most at risk are kids who receive regular exposures to violence. The new survey found that about 15 percent of kids had been exposed to violence six or more times in the previous year, with about 5 percent of kids exposed to 10 or more violent incidents.

"There are some kids who just seem to suffer an inordinate amount of this victimization," study author Finkelhor said. "They are a group that really deserves some priority attention, because the consequences of that are very severe. They are en route to serious mental health problems, alcohol problems, getting involved in delinquency and crimes, and having health consequences as well."

This is the second time Finkelhor has conducted this survey, following up on a previous round in 2008. Most categories of violence decreased very slightly between 2008 and 2011, but not enough to be considered a significant change.

The survey is done to provide policymakers with hard data in making decisions related to child safety.

Finkelhor said there are four main reasons why childhood tends to be more violence-prone than adult life:

  • Kids have little control over the people they associate with. "They can't sim
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