Child Sexual Abuse and Crime

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Child Sexual Abuse and Crime Child Sexual Abuse, child maltreatment and crime are prohibited all around the world. “Child maltreatment, which includes both child abuse and child neglect, is a major social problem. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over a million children are victims of maltreatment and sexual abuse annually. Over half a million children suffer serious injuries, and about 1500 children die, making child maltreatment the leading cause of deaths from injuries in children over a year old. In addition to this appalling immediate toll, child abuse is thought to have many harmful long-term consequences” (“James Poterba 1”). Janet Currie and Erdal Tekin are two people that focus on the effect of child maltreatment on crime using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent health. They focus on crime because it is one of the most socially costly potential outcomes of maltreatment, and because the proposed mechanisms linking maltreatment and crime are relatively well elucidated in the literature. “The various studies that show that having access to a gun at home increases the propensity to commit a variety of crimes, by about 30 percent among adolescents. Decreases in gun ownership over the 1990s can explain up to a third of the decline in ceime over the same period. Exposure to firearm violence approximately doubles the probability that an adolescent will engage in serious violence over the subsequent two years, so that effects of maltreatment are similar to those of exposure to gun violence” (“James Poterba 1”). One potential explanation for the large effects is that children who experience maltreatment start engaging in crime earlier, an explanation that appears to be supported by studies the authors highlight. Abused or neglected children are more likely to be arrested as both juveniles and adults.
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