The research, which was conducted by experts from Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, approximates that roughly 37 percent of children had been exposed to physical assault in 2014, with almost 10 percent of such number listed to have incurred injury during the said period.
"Children are the most victimized segment of the population," stated David Finkelhor, the head of the group that conducted the study. He added, "The full burden of this tends to be missed because many national crime indicators either do not include the experience of all children or don't look at the big picture and include all the kinds of violence to which children are exposed."
According to the official press release of the team, 40.9 percent of children and youth had more than one direct experience of violence, crime or abuse. Meanwhile, 10.1 percent suffered six or more instances and 1.2 percent had 10 or more. Among these victims, 37.3 experienced a physical assault during the study year in the hands of their own siblings (21.8 percent) and even friends (15.6 percent). Those injured as a result of the abuse totaled to 9.3 percent of the number.
With regard a sexual offense, 5 percent of the victims suffered through it, 1.4 percent of whom experienced a sexual assault. The research revealed that girls ages 14 to 17 were identified to belong under the highest risk for sexual assault, with 16.4 percent suffering from a sexual offense and 4.6 percent experiencing sexual assault or sexual abuse. From this group, 4.4 percent had an attempted or completed rape. Among these girls, 11.5 percent went through sexual harassment while 8.5 percent experienced unwanted Internet sexual solicitation.
As for the children and teens suffering from maltreatment in the hands of their caregivers, 15.2 percent were identified to have experienced with 5 percent of admitting to physical abuse. The research also showed that 24.5 percent of the participants witnessed violence in the family or community. Among them, 8.4 percent watched a family assault incident.
"Violence and abuse in childhood are big drivers behind many of our most serious health and social problems," said John Fluke, a child welfare scholar-in-residence at the University of Denver in Colorado, according to Reuters Health. "They are associated with later drug abuse, suicide, criminal behavior, mental illness and chronic disease like diabetes," he added. Fluke continued to say, "The challenge is to get children and families access to these programs and make such education more comprehensive and integrated into the curriculum."
With the increasing number of incidents involving violence and abuse among children and teens, the American Psychological Association advises adults to inculcate in their kids' minds that viciousness is not the key to survive and succeed in life. The organization lists down potential ways to help parents guide their kids away from the path of violence and destruction:
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