Increasing Disclosure and Identifying Victimizations of Children
In 2008, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention conducted the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV), which is the most comprehensive survey to date to assess childhood victimizations. The survey was initiated under the OJJDP’s Safe Start program in efforts to increase authority knowledge of childhood victimizations, including sexual assault by an adult, kidnapping, gang or group assault, as well as indirect victimizations such as witness to assault and exposure to shooting of another.
Although the study primarily focused on which authorities, including police, school and medical officials, were more likely to know about certain types of victimizations, another interesting aspect of the study examined what kind of factors were preventing disclosure to authorities. It reported that authorities were less likely to know about victimizations of boys, Hispanic youth, and those of higher SES groups (Support Enforcement Services). Researchers speculate that victims with these characteristics are hesitant to report their exposure as a reflection of social norms and cultural concerns.
The study concludes that although there are higher rates of victimizations known to authorities, officials need to increase disclosure promotion aimed at these particular groups. It is important for victims to view these trained professionals as resources who can help protect them and not as people who they must fear.
Shannon Kluss is a Digital Communications intern at Prichard Communications, where she assists on several accounts, including Reclaiming Futures. She is a recent graduate from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism. She is a Portland, OR native, and Pacific NW enthusiast.