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National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence


The National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV) is a comprehensive nationwide survey of the incidence and prevalence of children's exposure to violence. It measures past-year and lifetime exposure to violence for children age 17 and younger across several major categories: conventional crime, child maltreatment, victimization by peers and siblings, sexual victimization, witnessing and indirect victimization, school violence and threats, and Internet victimization.

Data Years Available: 
Mode of Collection: 
Telephone interview.
Selected Content: 
Child's age and other demographic characteristics; exposure to specific types of assault, bullying, sexual victimization, child maltreatment by an adult. Follow-up questions were asked about the perpetrator, use of a weapon, injury, and multiple events.
Population Covered: 
Children aged 17 and younger living in the continental U.S.
The 2008 NatSCEV was a random-digit dial telephone survey interviewing youths ages 10 to 17 and adult caregivers of children age 9 and under. Telephone interviews were used because they afford greater anonymity and privacy than in-person interviews and may encourage those interviewed to be more forthcoming about the sensitive topics covered in this survey. Telephone exchanges for African-American, Hispanic, and low-income households were oversampled. An adult (usually a parent) provided demographic information for each household. A sample child in the household was then selected to be surveyed. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.
Response Rates and Sample Size: 
The interview sample (n= 4,549) consisted of 2 groups: a nationally representative sample of telephone numbers within the contiguous U.S. (n=3,053) and an oversample of telephone exchanges with 70% or greater African American, Hispanic, or low-income households (n=1,496).
Interpretation Issues: 

Finkelhor D et al. Children's Exposure to Violence: a Comprehensive National Study. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. October, 2009. Available at: Children’s Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey