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June 2014

More Work Needed to Protect Children but Promising Trend Data on Exposure to Violence

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Healthy Development, School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta
JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(6):512-514. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.5330

Finkelhor and colleagues1 continue their leadership in providing trend data on maltreatment of children. Their previous work has shown that within child maltreatment there has been a 20-year decline in emotional child abuse and sexual abuse but not child neglect.2 Their current study, based on 3 large representative samples of national random digit dialing surveys, finds encouraging data on exposure to violence among children defined more broadly, with 27 significant declines in child maltreatment rates from 2003 to 2011 in children and youth aged 2 to 17 years.1 These findings from self-report data mirror trends seen in Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, other crime data, and adult surveys. Some of the most dramatic declines reported by Finkelhor et al were in rates of bullying, assault victimization, vandalism, theft, and witnessing violence. Generally, the declines were most prominent among older youth.

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