Childhood exposure to violence, crime, and abuse can lead to serious consequences for the health and well-being of children that can last long into adulthood.
Understanding the nature and extent of a child’s exposure to violence is essential in combating its effects. Research shows that early identification, intervention, and continued follow up are valuable strategies for preventing and decreasing the potential negative effects of a child’s exposure to violence.
OVC’s resource, Child Victims and Witnesses Support Materials, is a tool to help support children and youth if they are victims or witnesses. In each of the illustrated narratives, child and youth characters explain how the justice system works in a child-friendly and developmentally appropriate way.
The following resources provide information on child and youth victimization.
You can learn about the signs associated with child abuse and neglect by viewing the Child Welfare Information Gateway fact sheet, What Is Child Abuse and Neglect? Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms.
If you need to report a case of suspected child abuse or neglect, each state designates specific agencies to receive and investigate reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. Typically, this responsibility is carried out by Child Protective Services (CPS). For information or assistance with reporting, please call the Childhelp® National Child Abuse Hotline at 800–4–A–CHILD (800–422–4453) or contact your local CPS agency.
Additional state contact information is available from the Child Welfare Information Gateway website.
Missing and exploited children statistics are available in resources from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Statistics section of the Office of Justice Program's Missing Children Special Feature.
For additional information, visit the Child and Youth Victimization section of our website and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website.
If you have not yet contacted law enforcement officials to report your missing child, please do so immediately. Ask them about the issuance of an AMBER Alert. Through AMBER Alert, law enforcement agencies and broadcasters activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child abduction cases. Request that law enforcement put out a Be On the Look Out (BOLO) bulletin. Ask them about involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the search for your child.
Additional helpful information for families about what to do when a child is missing is available in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention report, When Your Child is Missing: A Family Survival Guide and the Missing and Exploited Children page. Also contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 800–843–5678 and view their Missing-Child, Emergency-Response, Quick-Reference Guide for Families.
Also visit the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) website. NamUs is a clearinghouse for missing persons and unidentified decedent records. This free online system can be searched by law enforcement officials, other allied professionals, and the general public to solve these cases. To enter a missing persons report into the NamUs database, visit the registration page.