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.
The following resources provide information on child and youth victimization.
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.
Information on the phenomenon known as the "cycle of violence," in which a childhood history of physical abuse may lead the survivor to be more likely to commit violence in later years, is available in the National Institute of Justice resources:
- Pathways Between Child Maltreatment and Adult Criminal Involvement
- Effects of Child Maltreatment, Cumulative Victimization Experiences, and Proximal Life Stress on Adult Crime and Antisocial Behavior
- An Update on the Cycle of Violence
- Childhood Victimization: Early Adversity, Later Psychopathology
To learn more, visit the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence, a series of publications funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.