University of New Hampshire Researchers Launch NIJ-funded Study on Hate Crime Investigations

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire are sending out confidential mail surveys to 4,000 randomly selected law enforcement agencies across the U.S. as part of a new study on hate crime investigations. The study, funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), will collect information on hate crime investigations that occurred in 2018. The mail survey will be followed by telephone interviews with investigators and prosecutors to collect de-identified information on a nationally representative sample of cases. The study aims to provide the public with better information about these crimes, help inform policy and procedural recommendations, improve national data collection strategies, and improve law enforcement training protocols.

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More Information about the HC-LEA Study


Many Unaware of Legal Responsibility to Report Child Abuse

A landmark study by researchers at the University of New Hampshire finds gaps regarding awareness of mandatory reporting laws among the general public in New Hampshire, a state where all adults are required by law to report suspected child abuse to authorities, as well as misperceptions that reporting suspected abuse may lead to worse outcomes for children



Updated Trends in Child Maltreatment, 2018

New national data for 2018 show a marked increase in sexual abuse for the first time in over 15 year, up 6% from 2017.


Welcome to the Crimes Against Children Research Center


Newly Released:


UNH Receives Federal Grant to Study Technology-Facilitated Child Sexual Exploitation

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A Cross-sectional Study Examining the (In)congruency of Sexual Identity, Sexual Behavior, and Romantic Attraction among Adolescents in the US

This article examines how sexual identity, romantic attraction, and sexual behavior co-relate for cisgender adolescents.

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  • UNH Receives Federal Grant to Help Police Whose Work Requires Review of Child Sexual Abuse Images

    Persistence of Poly-victimization Across Childhood 

    This article examines the persistence of victimization and poly-victimization across various stages of development (ages 0-5, 6-12, and 13-18) and the related impact on adult well-being.

    Gun Violence

     This article examines the impact of seeing and hearing gun violence on youth (ages 2 to 17 years) living in three communities inclusive of both urban and non-urban location.

    Decline in Spanking

    The use of spanking by US parents in the past year declined to 49% in 2014, a new low compared to rates in the 1990s, according to an analysis of data from the National Survey
    of Children Exposed to Violence.

    Youth Exposure to Suicide Attempts

    This article reports on the experiences of over 6,000 youth, aged 10-17, on lifetime exposure to suicide attempts by people close to them and its association with personal adversity, suicidal ideation, thoughts of self-harm, and trauma symptoms.

    The Complex Experience of Child Pornography Survivors

    The qualitiative analysis identified three major themes which emerged from 133 survivors' perspectives: Guilt and shame, their ongoing vulnerability and, suprisingly, an empowerment dimension the images sometimes brought because they confirmed their abuse testimony.

    Poly-Victimization and Peer Harassment Involvement in a Technological World

    This article explores the ways poly-victimized youth (those experiencing multiple different types of victimization over the course of 1 year) use technology to interact with peers. Particular attention is given to the peer harassment victimization and perpetration experiences of poly-victimized youth compared with less victimized and non-victimized youth—both overall and through technology.

    Sextortion has Painful Aftermath and Limited Resources for Support

    A survey of more than 1,600 victims of sextortion highlights how threats to expose sexual images can spark life-altering crises in the lives of young people, according to new research by the Crimes against Children Research Center in partnership with Thorn. 

    New Educational Videos on Program Evaluation now Available


    The UBS Optimus Foundation and the Crimes against Children Research Center (CCRC) at the University of New Hampshire have collaborated on several tools, including 5 films, to help non-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) use program evaluation to improve their program design and contribute to knowledge on what works best to help reduce children’s exposure to violence.  

    Screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Cautions and Suggestions

    This article argues that it is still premature to start widespread screening for adverse childhood experiences (ACE) in health care settings until we have answers to several important questions: 1) what are the effective interventions and responses we need to have in place to offer to those with positive ACE screening, 2) what are the potential negative outcomes and costs to screening that need to be buffered in any effective screening regime, and 3) what exactly should we be screening for? The article makes suggestions for needed research activities.

    The Role of Technology in Youth Harassment Victimization

    The National Institute of Justice and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention released a bulletin discussing key findings from the Technology Harassment Victimization study. The study, conducted between December 2013 and March 2014, examined technology-involved harassment within the context of other types of youth victimization and risk factors to improve current policy and practice regarding the issue.

    Child Victims of Stereotypical Kidnappings Known to Law Enforcement in 2011

    This bulletin summarizes findings on the incidence and characteristics of stereotypical kidnappings of children in 2011 and compares them with 1997 findings. The key findings include the following:

    Most Perpetrators of 2011 Sterotypical Kidnappings were Male, were 18 to 35, and Were White or Black in Equal Proportions.  About 70 Percent were Unemployed, and Roughly Half Had Problems With Drugs or Alcohol.

    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.

    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.

    In the News


    What schools can do to reduce the risk that teachers and other educators will sexually abuse children

    Some suggestions for preventing sexual abuse in school environments.

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    How universal childhood trauma screenings could backfire

    A universal screening system requires a lot of testing and planning to work out the bugs and rigorous clinical evaluation to make sure that it provides more benefit than harm. Let’s not ruin a good idea by setting up an expensive and time-consuming universal system before we know how to make it work.

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    Commentary: Ills of spanking emerge: Studies suggest it's risky to use corporal punishment

    The American Academy of Pediatrics has new guidelines to counsel parents against the use of spanking. This editorial outlines some of the thinking behind that advice.

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    Sexual assault among adolescents: 6 facts

    Some important underappreciated facts about the prevalence of sexual assault among adolescents, its under-reporting, and the availability of evidence-based educational programs to reduce its frequency.

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    My Turn: The path to preventing teacher sexual abuse

    The St. Paul's School report on teacher sexual misconduct is a sign of progress. We can do a much better job at preventing misconduct once schools become willing to raise the profile of this uncomfortable topic and admit the vulnerability endemic to the teaching environment.

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    Op-Ed (The Conversation) How sexual partner abuse has changed with social media

    In a large study the CCRC recently did on sexual partner abuse and social media, we found that sextortion mostly involves the classic dynamics of abusive relationships, or malicious online seducers with a few digital-age twists. The dynamics are offensive and manipulative, to be sure, but also sadly familiar. Similar dynamics have been seen in CCRC research about sexting and other internet-related sex crimes.

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    Op-Ed (Washington Post): Banning apps won’t protect kids from predators. They’re in danger offline, too.

    Lovell’s horrific case stokes our fear of a misleading archetype: the stranger abductor/molester/killer. After waning over time, this fear has grown, thanks to the notion that the Internet gives strangers access to our children on an order previously unseen. But this particular anxiety actually threatens to divert us from important strides we’ve made over the last generation in understanding how to bolster children’s safety. We need to keep in mind the atypical features of this type of crime.

    Read the Washington Post op-ed

    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