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David Finkelhor, photo courtesy of the University of New Hampshire

Feb 21, 2016 11:08 AM

UNH Study: Youth organizations less likely to engage in child abuse than children's families


Youth-serving organizations, such as religious, community or sports organizations, are less likely to abuse a child than family members or other adults, according to a study from a University of New Hampshire professor.

According to UNH Today, UNH sociology professor David Finkelhor and two other co-authors from the Crimes Against Children Research Center published a study in JAMA Pediatrics, which combined data from three national telephone surveys.

Of the 13,052 surveyed, 0.8 percent reported abuse from someone working at a youth organization, compared to 11.4 percent reporting abuse from a family member. A second finding was that in terms of the type of abuse, the majority - 63.2 percent - was verbal when it came to youth organizations.

“The reality is that a lot of kids have had teachers or camp counselors who belittled them, threatened them in various ways, made fun of them because of disabilities or habits that they had, played tricks on them that were cruel,” Finkelhor said. “Sexual abuse gets the most attention, but emotional maltreatment is one we should be paying more attention to.”


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