Kids experiencing less bullying, sexual assault

By Anne Collier

Schools, keep up the good work! A new national study by the Crimes Against Children Research Center found that bullying, sexual assault, and other violence against US children ages 2-17 “declined substantially” between 2003 and 2008, the University of New Hampshire’s CACRC reports. The study’s lead author, David Finkelhor, credits schools’ and other prevention efforts to reduce bullying and sexual assault as part of the explanation for the declines, though adding that “children’s victimization is still shockingly high.” In the past year, physical bullying decreased from 22% of youth to 15%, and sexual assault from 3.3% to 2%, the CACRC study found. Certainly we all have more work to do – and not just schools: The authors “did not find declines in physical abuse and neglect by caregivers, but [they] did find a decline in psychological abuse. Thefts of children’s property also declined, but robbery was one of the few offenses to show an increase.” This page at the UNH site has a link to the full study, “Trends in Childhood Violence and Abuse Exposure,” in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Here’s coverage today in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; thanks to Cobb County School District risk-prevention specialist Patti Agatston in the Atlanta area for pointing the Journal-Constitution article out. Later added: the Wall Street Journal’s coverage.

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