Child Maltreatment & Juvenile Delinquency: Facts and Figures
- Neglected children were nearly as likely as physically abused children to be arrested later for a violent crime. 1
- In 2005, there were an estimated 1,460 child fatalities due to maltreatment.4
- In 2006, law enforcement agencies reported 1,337,365 arrests of persons under age 18. 5
- About one-quarter of juveniles who offended at ages 16-17 also offended as adults at ages 18-19. 6
- Most adjudicated delinquency cases result in residential placement or formal probation. 6
- In 2003, 307 juvenile offenders were in custody for every 100,000 juveniles in the U.S. Populations. 6
- African American youth between ages 10 and 17 constitute about 16 percent of the population nationwide, yet account for 27% of juveniles detained and 36% of juveniles committed to secure institutions. Overall, minorities account for 60 percent of juveniles committed to secure facilities. 7
- A black boy born in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison in his lifetime; a Latino boy a 1 in 6 chance; and a White boy a 1 in 17 chance.7
- The decline in black juveniles in custody led the overall 1997-2003 custody population decline. 6
Childhood Victimization & Future Criminality
Maltreated children were:
younger at the time of their first arrest
committed nearly twice as many offenses
were arrested more frequently1
Being abused or neglected increased the likelihood of arrest:
As a juvenile by 59%
As an adult by 28%
For a violent crime by 30%1
Common Family Risk Factors of Offending Children and Maltreated Children:
Failure to supervise and monitor children
Excessively severe, harsh, or inconsistent punishment
Caregiver Substance Abuse2
Family Risk Factors that Apply Particularly to Very Young Offenders:
Child abuse and neglect
Family disruption, especially changes in caretakers
Parental antisocial or delinquent behavior
Parental substance abuse
Access to weapons, especially guns3
In 2005, there were 3.3 million reports for child abuse & maltreatment:
16.6% physical abuse
9.3% sexual abuse
42.2% attributed to neglect
76.6% were younger than 4 years old4
Total Percent Changes in Arrests for Juveniles (persons under age 18):
From 1997 - 2006, juvenile arrests decreased by 24%
From 2002 - 2006, juvenile arrests decreased by 3.1%
From 2005 - 2006, juvenile arrests increased by 0.8%5
Everyday in America, an average of 7,500 youth are incarcerated in adult jails, although the annual number of youth is even higher.
Youth placed in adult correctional facilities:
are more likely to re-offend and be re-arrested for serious crimes
have the highest suicide rate of all inmates
are less likely to receive proper education, if any 8
View Facts and Figures From:
Additional Resources and Services:
1 Widom, C.S., & Maxfield, J.B. (2001, February). Research in brief: An update on the “cycle of violence”. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
2 Wiig, J.K., Widom, C.S., & Tuell J.A. (2003). Understanding child maltreatment & juvenile delinquency: From research to effective program, practice, and systemic solutions. Washington, DC: CWLA Press.
3 Loeber, R. and Farrington, D. P. (Eds.) (2001). Child Delinquents: Development, Intervention and Service Needs. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
4 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families. Child maltreatment 2005. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2007.
5 United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations (September, 2007). Crime in the United States, 2006. Available online at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/.
6 Snyder, H.N. & Sickmund, M. (2006). Juvenile offenders and victims: 2006 national report. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
7 Children’s Defense Fund (2007). America’s cradle to prison pipeline report. Available online at http://www.childrensdefensefund.org.
8 Campaign for Youth Justice (November, 2007). Jailing juveniles: The dangers of incarcerating youth in adult jails in America. Available online at http://www.campaignforyouthjustice.org/national_reports.html.
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