Youth victimization concerns have engaged educators, public health officials, and the media for many years. Cases of child victimization regularly make headlines, and in recent years public concern has focused in particular on sexual abuse, child abductions, online predators, school shootings, bullying, and cyberbullying. But little attention has been given to evidence for substantial declines in child victimizations over the past 20 years. Even for internet victimization, an area of high current public anxiety, trend data do not suggest a growing epidemic but instead find that some types of online victimization have declined over the past decade.

The failure to successfully promote information about positive youth victimization trends means that the public, professionals, and policy makers are making decisions based on unbalanced information. Attention is often directed erroneously, and we are prevented from identifying what policies and practices work best at helping improve youth safety even further. This report discusses the trends in various forms of child victimization and well-being, the potential reasons for these trends, and the implications of these findings for policy makers.



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