National Child Abuse Expert Authors Book About Childhood Victimization
By Lori Wright, Media Relations
February 13, 2008
Noted national child abuse researcher David Finkelhor has authored a new book
that presents a comprehensive new vision of how to think about and respond
to children who experience crime, violence and abuse.
“Childhood Victimization” was published Feb. 6 by Oxford University
Press. Finkelhor is the director of the Crimes against Children Research Center
at UNH where he also is a professor of sociology.
“Children are the most criminally victimized segment of the population.
Over a fifth of American youth face multiple, serious ‘poly-victimizations’ during
a single year. Yet more attention in academic research and government policy
has traditionally gone to studying juvenile delinquents than juvenile victims,
despite the fact that children actually appear before authorities more frequently
as victims than as offenders,” according to Finkelhor.
“There is considerable ignorance, misunderstanding and mythology about
the realities of child victimization that can be chalked up to a field that
is fragmented, understudied, and subjected to political demagoguery,” he
In his book, Finkelhor presents a comprehensive new vision that encompasses
the prevention, treatment, and study of juvenile victims, unifying the often
separate areas of child molestation, child abuse, bullying, and exposure to
community violence. Developmental Victimology, his term for this integrated
perspective, looks at child victimization across childhood's span and yields
fascinating insights about how to categorize juvenile victimizations, how to
think about risk and impact, and how victimization patterns change over the
course of development.
The book also provides a valuable new model of society's response to child
victimization -- what Finkelhor calls the Juvenile Victim Justice System --
and a fresh way of thinking about barriers that victims and their families
encounter when seeking help. The book also contains fascinating new details
about and explanations for an unexpected decline in rates of child victimization
in the US that is now a decade and a half old.
“Over the last 30 years, we have come to expect creativity, rigor, intelligence,
and compassion from David Finkelhor. “Childhood Victimization” offers
that and more: a comprehensive report on the emergent field of child victimology,” says
James Garbarino, director of the Center for the Human Rights of Children at
Loyola University Chicago.
Finkelhor has been studying the problems of child victimization, child maltreatment
and family violence since 1977. He is well known for his conceptual and empirical
work on the problem of child sexual abuse, reflected in publications such as “Sourcebook
on Child Sexual Abuse” (Sage, 1986) and “Nursery Crimes” (Sage,
He has also written about child homicide, missing and abducted children, children
exposed to domestic and peer violence and other forms of family violence. He
is editor and author of 11 books and more than 150 journal articles and book
chapters. In 1994, he was given the Distinguished Child Abuse Professional
Award by the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and in
2004 he was given the Significant Achievement Award from the Association for
the Treatment of Sexual Abusers.