60% of adults report experiencing abuse or other difficult family circumstances during
childhood. (1)

26% of children in the United States will witness or experience a traumatic event
before they turn four. (1)

Four of every 10 children in American say they experienced a physical assault during the past year, with one in 10 receiving an assault-related injury. (2)

2% of all children experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse during the past year, with the rate at nearly 11% for girls aged 14 to 17. (2)

Nearly 14% of children repeatedly experienced maltreatment by a caregiver, including nearly 4% who experienced physical abuse. (2)

1 in 4 children was the victim of robbery, vandalism or theft during the previous year. (2)

More than 13% of children reported being physically bullied, while more than 1 in 3 said they had been emotionally bullied. (2)

1 in 5 children witnessed violence in their family or the neighborhood during the previous year. (2)

In one year, 39% of children between the ages of 12 and 17 reported witnessing violence, 17% reported being a victim of physical assault and 8% reported being the victim of sexual assault. (3)

More than 60% of youth age 17 and younger have been exposed to crime, violence and abuse either directly or indirectly. (4)

More than 10% of youth age 17 and younger reported five or more exposures to violence. (4)

About 10% of children suffered from child maltreatment, were injured in an assault, or witnessed a family member assault another family member. (4)

About 25% of youth age 17 and younger were victims of robbery or witnessed a violent act. (4)

Nearly half of children and adolescents were assaulted at least once in the past year. (4)

Among 536 elementary and middle school children surveyed in an inner city community, 30% had witnessed a stabbing and 26% had witnessed a shooting. (5)

Young children exposed to five or more significant adverse experiences in the first three years of childhood face a 76% likelihood of having one or more delays in their language, emotional or brain development. (6)

As the number of traumatic events experienced during childhood increases, the risk for the following health problems in adulthood increases: depression; alcoholism; drug abuse; suicide attempts; heart and liver diseases; pregnancy problems; high stress; uncontrollable anger; and family, financial, and job problems. (6)

People who have experienced trauma are:

  • 15 times more likely to attempt suicide
  • 4 times more likely to become an alcoholic
  • 4 times more likely to develop a sexually transmitted disease
  • 4 times more likely to inject drugs
  • 3 times more likely to use antidepressant medication
  • 3 times more likely to be absent from work
  • 3 times more likely to experience depression
  • 3 times more likely to have serious job problems
  • 2.5 times more likely to smoke
  • 2 times more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • 2 times more likely to have a serious financial problem


(1) National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention, "Childhood Trauma and Its Effect on Healthy Development," July 2012 (

(2) JAMA Pediatrics, May 2013 (

(2) Kilpatrick DG, Saunders BE. (1997). "Prevalence and Consequences of Child Victimization: Results from the National Survey of Adolescents." National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Medical University of South Carolina

(3) Finkelhor, David; Turner, Heather; Ormrod, Richard; Hamby, Sherry; Kracke, Kristen (October 2009). "Children's Exposure to Violence, a Comprehensive National Survey." Office of Justice Programs Juvenile Justice Bulletin. (

(4) Bell, C.C. & Jenkins E.J. (1993). "Community Violence and Children on Chicago's Southside." Psychiatry, 56 (1): 46-54.

(5) "Building Resilience in Children and Youth Dealing with Trauma," Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (

(6) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (



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