DURHAM, N.H. (CBS Connecticut) – Government researchers reveal that the amount of children in the United States who were exposed to violence and abuse in 2011 was almost exactly the same as the amount suffering in similar conditions in 2008.

Researchers funded by federal grants from the U.S. Department of Justice and other agencies spoke with 4,503 children and teenagers in 2011, and found that two out of every five children had been physically attacked the previous year, Reuters reports.

A survey taken in 2008 reportedly revealed there to be similar rates of abuse against children at the time.

Children and caregivers who spoke with those involved in the study represented kids between 1 month and 17 years of age.

Lead author David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center in Durham, told Reuters that there is a silver lining to their findings.

“The good news is that a lot of people expected things to get worse given the economy was doing so bad,” he said. “That’s the good news but the bad news is that … the level of exposure to violence, to crime and all that stuff is really enormous to kids.”

Researchers also observed other alarming trends during their research.

Boys were reportedly more likely to suffer physical abuse, and siblings or other children living in the same home were more likely to have committed the act. Most sexual abuse victims were girls ages 14 to 17.

Theft was also prominent among the children surveyed as 25 percent reported belongings being either stolen or vandalized during the year in question.

A quarter of the children spoken with additionally reported observing domestic violence or violence in their communities.

Finkelhor emphasized the importance of publicizing the study’s findings as it pertains to ensuring the welfare of children in America.

He told the news service, “”I don’t want anyone to get the impression that everything is hunky dory. We still have rates that are higher than in many other developed countries.”


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