Most Children Are Assault Victims by Their Teen Years

Over one-third of all children had an experience with some form of threat or intimidation sometime in the last year, with one in ten incidents leading to actual injury, according to the latest results of a national, telephone-based survey on children’s exposure to violence.

David Finkelhor, PhD, of the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H., and colleagues found that 37.3% of all youth ages 0-17 experienced physical assault, and 9.3% reported an assault with injury in the past year.

By the time children were teens ages 14-17, nearly two-thirds (63.5%) reported experiencing any physical assault and nearly a quarter (22.4%) had an assault with injury over their lifetimes, the authors wrote in JAMA Pediatrics…

Teen girls also reported a larger percentage of sexual assault in their lifetime (14.3% versus 6.0%), including exposure to attempted/completed rape (12.9% versus 5.1%). The biggest discrepancy among girls and boys came from reported sexual harassment (20.5% versus 3.4% lifetime)…

“Mental health disorders are the most common diseases of childhood with nearly half of youth experiencing a diagnosable mental health condition before they are 18, and the majority of youth with anxiety and depressive disorders do not receive treatment,” she told MedPage Today via e-mail. “Youth who have experienced bullying, assault or who have been witness to violence are at particularly high risk for developing mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and PTSD...

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