Cops and Children Exposed to Violence


Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr.

Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Masters’ Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins University.

How Many Children are Abused, Neglected or Exposed to Violence?

The National Incidence of Child Abuse and Neglect provides an excellent overview of the correlates (connections) of abused and neglected children and demographics. It’s still considered to be the definitive study of child abuse and neglect exploring correlates.

It states that one child in every 58 in the United States is mistreated.

Please note that other, more recent reports estimate that, “One child in every 25 in the United States is abused or neglected.” See Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 2014 National Report, at Juvenile Offenders and Victims. Beyond citing definitional issues, the document doesn’t explain the differences between the “1 in 58” and the “1 in 25” findings.

Another 2014 Department of Justice study shows that 60 percent of children nationwide are exposed to violence, crime, or abuse; consequences include poor school performance, drug and alcohol abuse, long-term physical and psychological harm, and risk of future victimization and suicide. See “Children’s Exposure to Violence” at Exposure to Violence

See more on child abuse on Crime in America.Net at Crime in America-Child Abuse.

See more on child abuse and exposure to violence at Crime in America-Child Abuse and Exposure.

Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence Toolkit.

The Department of Justice offers the Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence toolkit.

The toolkit is designed to equip law enforcement professionals with trauma-informed, developmentally-appropriate tools to effectively respond to children who have been exposed to violence.

Funded by the Office of Justice Programs’ Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the toolkit contains protocols, checklists and other field-tested and research-informed resources to enable law enforcement leaders and frontline officers to improve responses to children who have encountered trauma.

Officers trained in biological, neurological and psychological responses to trauma will be better prepared to recognize and identify these symptoms in their encounters with children and family members, and will be equipped to respond in ways that maximize both officer safety and positive outcomes for children and families.

The toolkit was developed under a cooperative agreement between the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Yale Child Study Center and OJJDP.

For additional information about the Enhancing Police Responses to Children Exposed to Violence: A Toolkit for Law Enforcement, visit

The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims.

More information about OJP and its components can be found at

Additional Sources

Child Abuse-Executive Summary

Child Abuse-Full Report

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