Children’s Exposure to Multiple Types of Violence, Crime, and Abuse

every childA study by the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV) found that where a child is exposed to “even one type of violence” he or she is “at far greater risk of experiencing other types of violence.” More specifically, a child who was physically assaulted in the past year is “five times as  likely to have been sexually victimized and more than four times as likely also to have been maltreated during that period.”

The results of the study above indicate that when a child suffers from one type of abuse, he or she is vulnerable to other types of abuse. This tragic fact puts greater responsibility on professionals, in New York, to dig deeper beyond a first impression. In other words, where it is discovered that a child is a victim of sexual abuse at home, it is critical to examine the possibility that this child is also suffering from different types of abuse in other areas of his or her life. Indeed, the NatSCEV found that 38.7 percent of children surveyed reported “more than one type of direct victimization.” Furthermore, of those who reported a direct victimization, 64.5 percent reported more than one type. The critical inference here is that where a child is found to be the direct victim of violence, it is more likely than not, that this child is suffering other types of violence.

In addition to recognizing when a child is the victim of multiple types of abuse, interventions must be early: namely, when the warning signs are apparent.  Professionals in New York must recognize the warning signs: dangerous and disrupted families, living in high-crime neighborhoods, and emotional problems or other psychological predisposition. Professionals could also benefit from a greater understanding of other agencies that operate in overlapping areas. If professionals understand how other agencies operate, then policies can be crafted with all the resources available.

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