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June 17, 1992

Adolescents May Experience Home, School Abuse; Their Future Draws Researchers' Concern

JAMA. 1992;267(23):3127-3131. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480230019004

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OF ALL THE TYPES of family violence, abuse of adolescents is perhaps one of the most overlooked. Many people, including professionals, assume that the majority of victims of child abuse are small children. Identification and treatment programs tend to focus on the very young.

But research in recent years is beginning to paint a picture of adolescence that is more abuse-ridden than early childhood. According to statistics compiled by the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, Washington, DC, adolescents experience a disporportionately high level of child abuse, including the most severe abuse that results in serious injuries and death.

Youths aged 12 to 17 years constitute 38% of the child population, yet 47% of the victims of all forms of child maltreatment fall into this age group. Teenagers aged 15 to 17 years represent 19% of the child population, yet they experience 27% of the serious injuries and 23%