Disability and victimization in a national sample of children and youth

Turner HA, Vanderminden J, Finkelhor D, Hamby S, Shattuck A.  Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03857, USA. heather.turner@unh.edu.  Child Maltreat. 2011 Nov;16(4):275-86. doi: 10.1177/1077559511427178. Epub 2011 Nov 23.

Although past research has found higher rates of violence, crime, and abuse among children with disabilities, most studies combine diverse forms of disability into one measure and assess exposure to only one particular type of victimization. Based on a representative national sample of 4,046 children aged 2-17 from the 2008 National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, the present study examines the associations between several different types of disability and past-year exposure to multiple forms of child victimization. Results suggest that attention-deficit disorder/attention-deficit with hyperactivity disorder elevates the risk for peer victimization and property crime, internalizing psychological disorders increase risk for both child maltreatment and sexual victimization, and developmental/learning disorders heighten risk only for property crime. In contrast, physical disability did not increase the risk for any type of victimization once confounding factors and co-occurring disabilities were controlled. It appears that disabilities associated with interpersonal and behavioral difficulties are most strongly associated with victimization risks.