Getting punched by your brother or sister is sometimes a painful rite of passage, but many U.S. kids also experience other types of assaults, mistreatment and abuse, a big government-funded survey found.
The consequences can include social and emotional troubles, even when the perpetrator is a sibling, other research has found.
While most incidents reported in the survey didn't cause injuries and many didn't involve weapons, the results show that youths younger than age 18 are exposed to violence in extensive ways, "which justifies continued monitoring and prevention efforts," the researchers said.
The results are from 2013-14 phone interviews with 4,000 randomly selected kids or their parents, asked about recent and lifetime experiences. Results were published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics; there was little change from a previous survey in 2011.
Among the key findings:
- For all ages grouped together, 37 percent experienced any physical assault in the previous year.
- About 22 percent were by siblings and 16 percent were by peers.
- 41 percent of kids surveyed had more than one direct experience of violence, crime or abuse and 10 percent had six or more.
- 14 percent of girls aged 14 to 17 said they'd been sexually assaulted within the past year and for 4 percent the attack was a rape or rape attempt.
- 15 percent of kids surveyed experienced maltreatment by a parent or other caregiver within the previous year, including 5 percent who experienced physical abuse.
- 9 percent of all physical assaults resulted in injuries, but it jumped to 22 percent in the oldest kids.
"The study shows what a large quantity of different kinds of violence, crime and abuse children are routinely exposed to," said sociologist David Finkelhor, the lead author and director of the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.
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"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," he said.
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