Washinton Post: Are Kids Getting More Virtuous?

By many measures, young people today are showing virtues their elders lacked. They have brought delinquency, truancy, promiscuity, alcohol abuse and suicide down to levels unseen in many cases since the 1950s. Rather than coming up with ever more old-fogey complaints, we should be celebrating young people’s good judgment and self-control — and extolling their parents and teachers.


Updated Trends in Child Maltreatment, 2013

New national data for 2013 show continued declines in child maltreatment, after a one year discontinuity (2012) in which some rates briefly increased. But from 2012 to 2013, sexual abuse declined 4%, physical abuse declined 3%, child maltreat-ment fatalities declined 7% and overall substantiated child mal-treatment declined 1%. Neglect by contrast rose 1%.


Welcome to the Crimes Against Children Research Center


Newly Released:


National Study Finds That Bystanders Support Victims of Harassment and Bullying More Often Than Commonly Thought

This paper reports on a CCRC study that found that in contrast to previous studies, youth victims of in-person and online harassment and bullying report that in most cases, bystanders tried to help them. Bystanders are present for the majority of harassment incidents (80%). In about 70% of these cases, victims report that a bystander tried to make them feel better. Negative bystander reactions, though considerably less frequent, still occurred in nearly a quarter of incidents and were associated with a significantly higher negative impact on the victim.

Beyond Bullying: Aggravating Elements of Peer Victimization Episodes

This article addresses questions about how to define “bullying” and distinguish more and less serious forms of peer victimization. The study shows that in peer victimization episode, there are features other than “power imbalance” that contribute independently to negative impact.  These features include prominently sexual content, as well as weapon involvement and injury.  The implication is that policy needs to focus on a broader range of episodes than simply bullying with its emphasis on power imbalance.

CCRC Receives Digital Trust Grant to Study Cyberbullying

The Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire has received a grant amounting to over $100,000 from the Digital Trust Foundation to study cyberbullying among adolescents and young adults in the U.S. The project will utilize data collected as part of the national Technology Harassment Victimization (THV) Study, originally funded by the National Institute of Justice, focusing on how often and in what ways technology plays a role in peer harassment and bullying.

Cyberbullying Less Emotionally Harmful To Kids Than In-Person Harassment, Study Finds

 Contrary to popular belief, cyberbullying that starts and stays online is no more emotionally harmful to youngsters than harassment that only occurs in-person and may actually be less disturbing because it’s likelier to be of shorter duration and not involve significant power imbalances, according to a CCRC study published by the American Psychological Association.

Weapon Involvement in the Victimization of Children

Estimates from the Second National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence indicate that more than 17.5 million youth in the United States have been exposed to violence involving a weapon in their lifetimes as witnesses or victims, or more than 1 in 4 children, according to a CCRC paper published in Pediatrics. More than 2 million youth in the United States (1 in 33) have been directly assaulted in incidents where the high lethality risk weapons of guns and knives were used.


Commentary: Cause for alarm? Youth and internet risk research – a commentary on Livingstone and Smith (2014)

If you have spent any time with young people in the last 10 years, you know how enthralled they are by the electronic technology. But if you review the research on youth and technology, the themes are mostly about danger and distress.
Is this because the technology is indeed a new ‘pied piper’ seducing innocents into dangers unaware? Or is this the sign of a generational-gap alarmism that has discounted what youth are really experiencing?

This commentary on Livingstone and Smith (Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55, 2014, 655-658) suggests that more attention should be paid to a set of hypotheses about technology that contrasts with those that have animated much of the current research interest: (a) That the digital environment is no more perilous and perhaps less perilous than other offline environments youth inhabit; (b) That the problems the digital technology poses are not unique, but rather extensions of social interaction or media consumption problems that cut across many environments and are best conceptualized holistically rather than as special; and (c) That the appropriate responses should not be specialized Internet safety training but more generic education about life skills, social interaction, emotional intelligence, and media literacy. The commentary also argues for more research that reflects and tries to illuminate the basis for the excitement and enthusiasm that the young have for the technology.


Trends in Children's Exposure to Violence, 2003-2011

Rates of violent crime have declined in the United States since the mid-1990s. This decline includes violent crimes, property crimes, and sex crimes. Children may also have benefitted from these trends. For example, rates of physical and sexual abuse substantiated by child protection authorities declined 56% and 63%, respectively, from 1992 to 2011. Violence against youth aged 12 to 17 years, measured by self-report surveys such as the National Crime Victimization Survey, also declined substantially from the mid-1990s onward. Surveys of bullying and school violence have shown similar large drops.


In the News

Op-Ed (Concord Monitor): ‘Bystanders’ are key to preventing sexual assault

A new generation of programs for adolescents, such as “Coaching Boys Into Men,” “Green Dot” and “Shifting Boundaries,” target “bystanders” rather than potential perpetrators or victims of sexual assault. These programs are proving to be effective at reducing rates of sexual assault and other forms of violence and increasing support for victims.

Read the Concord Monitor op-ed


CNN Commentary: Child prostitution and Trafficking: Sex ring sting….

Kudos to the FBI and its partners for bringing needed attention to the neglected problem of juveniles engaged in prostitution. On Monday, they announced the results of Operation Cross Country, a coordinated multi-agency campaign in which 150 alleged pimps were arrested in a three-day sweep in 76 cities. But it's a complex problem requiring a lot more than the arrest of pimps.

Read the CNN commentary