Friday, January 8, 2010

12 Percent Of Children Sent To Government Facilities Sexually Abused

An estimated 12 percent of adjudicated youth in state operated and large locally or privately operated juvenile facilities reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another youth or facility staff.

The figures are the result of a new Justice Department survey. The vast majority (10.3 percent) of the abuses, the survey finds, were perpetrated by facility staff.

The National Survey of Youth in Custody limited reporting by youth to incidents occurring in the last 12 months. Sexual victimization is defined as any unwanted sexual activity between youth and all sexual activity between youth and staff. About 4.3 percent of youth reported having sex or sexual contact with staff as a result of force; 6.4 percent of youth reported sexual contact with staff without any force, threat, or other explicit form of coercion.

Males were more likely than females to report sexual activity with facility staff (10.8 percent compared to 4.7 percent), but less likely than females to report forced sexual activity with another youth (2.0 percent compared to 9.1 percent). Overall, 91 percent of youth in the facilities in the survey were males; 9 percent were females.

Approximately 95 percent of all youth reporting staff sexual misconduct said they had been victimized by female facility staff, the study found. In 2008, 42 percent of staff in juvenile facilities under state jurisdiction were female.

Nearly half of the youth victimized by another youth reported they had experienced physical force or threat of force (46 percent), 30 percent had been offered favors or protection and 17 percent had been given drugs or alcohol. Among youth victimized by facility staff, more than two-thirds (69 percent) did not report any force, threat of force, or offers of favors, protection, drugs, or alcohol to engage in the sexual activity. Nearly 20 percent of youth sexually victimized by another youth reported being injured in the incident, compared to five percent of youth victimized by staff.

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