Mon Jun 29, 2015 06:09PM
Phone-based surveys show that nearly four of every 10 kids and teens in the US were exposed to violence or abuse over the previous year.
Phone-based surveys show that nearly four of every 10 kids and teens in the US were exposed to violence or abuse over the previous year.

Nearly four of every 10 children and teens in the United States have been exposed to violence or abuse over the previous year, researchers say.

About 37 percent of kids had been physically assaulted over the previous year, and almost 10 percent were injured as a result, according to a survey by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

About 15 percent of youth were exposed to maltreatment by a caregiver and almost 6 percent had witnessed violence between their parents.

“Children are the most victimized segment of the population,” said study leader David Finkelhor.

“The full burden of this tends to be missed because many national crime indicators either do not include the experience of all children or don’t look at the big picture and include all the kinds of violence to which children are exposed,” Finkelhor said.

Researchers collected information on 4,000 kids age 17 and younger through phone interviews in 2013 and 2014.

The interviewers asked about conventional crime, child maltreatment, peer and sibling abuse, sexual assault, indirect exposure to violence and witnessing violence to others, and Internet violence.

Most mistreatment incidents occur within the family, according to John Fluke, a child welfare scholar-in-residence at the University of Denver in Colorado.

“Violence and abuse in childhood are big drivers behind many of our most serious health and social problems,” Fluke said. “They are associated with later drug abuse, suicide, criminal behavior, mental illness and chronic disease like diabetes.”

AHT/HRJ