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Original Investigation
February 1, 2016

Children Exposed to Abuse in Youth-Serving OrganizationsResults From National Sample Surveys

Author Affiliations
  • 1Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham
  • 2Sewanee the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee
JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(2):e154493. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.4493

Importance  Protecting children in youth-serving organizations is a national concern.

Objective  To provide clinicians, policymakers, and parents with estimates of children’s exposure to abuse in youth-serving organizations.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Telephone survey data from the 3 National Surveys of Children's Exposure to Violence (2008, 2011, and 2014) were combined to create a sample of 13 052 children and youths aged 0 to 17 years. The survey participants included youths aged 10 to 17 years and caregivers of children aged 0 to 9 years.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Items from the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire.

Results  In the combined sample of 13 052 children and youths aged 0 to 17 years, the rate of abuse by persons in youth-serving organizations was 0.4% (95% CI, 0.2-0.7) for the past year and 0.8% (95% CI, 0.5-1.1) over the lifetime. Most of the maltreatment (63.2%) was verbal abuse and only 6.4% was any form of sexual violence or assault.

Conclusions and Relevance  Abuse in youth-serving organizations was a relatively rare form of abuse, dwarfed by abuse by family members and other adults.