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2013 OVC Report to the Nation: Fiscal Years 2011-2012 'Transforming Today's Vision into Tomorrow's Reality'
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Child and Youth Victimization

Photo of a group of four children smiling

Children are among the most vulnerable members of society, dependent on those closest to them for nurturing, guidance, and protection from harm. The National Survey on Children's Exposure to Violence, which revealed the high incidence of victimization at home, at school, and in neighborhoods, underscored the urgency of the need for protection. The survey, which was conducted over 12 months in 2008, found that 60 percent of U.S. children were exposed to violence, crime, or abuse, with nearly half being victimized in more than one way (polyvictimization).9

Numerous studies have documented strong links between child abuse, trauma, and neglect, and a child's mental and physical health. Defending  Childhood Initiative 'Protect Heal Thrive' Logo In response, OVC supports innovative demonstration projects, trauma-informed training for service providers, and extensive outreach, in addition to channeling VOCA funding to support victims. During FYs 2011 and 2012, 1.1 million young victims of physical and sexual abuse received services funded through VOCA. Furthermore, the Children's Justice Act provides that up to $20 million of VOCA funding be allocated annually to improve the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases at the state, tribal, and local levels; HHS receives 85 percent for its child abuse programs and services, while OVC receives 15 percent to promote culturally sensitive case management of child abuse in tribal communities. OVC is also a key partner in the Attorney General's Defending Childhood Initiative, which is committed to preventing exposure to violence, minimizing harm, and spreading awareness about this widespread threat to the well-being of America's children.


OVC Video Series Highlights Innovative Practices To Help Young Victims

Photo of a boy with head leaning against a wall OVC's Through Our Eyes: Children, Violence, and Trauma video series addresses the needs of children exposed to violence and how trauma-informed care can help them recover to lead healthy, productive lives. Produced under the banner of the Defending Childhood Initiative, four videos highlight major issues in child victimization and promising practices for service providers and others working with young victims. The introductory video, which features a child-centered perspective on violence, promotes increased awareness of the issues and is geared to a broad audience, from policymakers to parents. Three additional videos focus on promising practices, with an emphasis on establishing and enhancing multidisciplinary team collaboration to ensure an appropriate response to each and every affected child. The videos, with accompanying resources, can be viewed at OVC's Web site.

OVC Seeks To Build Service Providers' Resilience

Too often, service providers focus on responding to victims without recognizing the tremendously challenging nature of their work. To help child abuse professionals cope with compassion fatigue, burnout, and other stress-related problems, OVC funded the development and production of The Resiliency Project. The University of Texas at Austin's Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA) developed the evidence-based, 3-day training curriculum, which incorporates practitioners' self-knowledge, hopeful outlook, crisis coping skills, strong relationships, and personal perspective into plans and tactics for self-care. After extensive pilot testing, IDVSA collaborated with OVC TTAC to shape the training into a dynamic, blended learning experience, using a variety of educational formats. OVC TTAC will present the training in communities nationwide upon request.

Of Special Interest

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) promotes the medical home approach to identifying and responding to possible abuse and neglect of children. Pediatric teams partner with children and their families to provide comprehensive primary care, which includes helping families access and coordinate care, as needed, from various support services. With OVC's support, AAP launched a Web site to disseminate tools to help pediatricians screen for child victimization, prepare materials to support family counseling, improve practice management, and raise awareness of the impact of violence on children in their communities.
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) has provided training to more than 650 community members, clinicians, and brokers through its OVC-supported Effective Providers for Child Victims of Violence Program. The program is designed to develop awareness of, access to, and competency to advocate for and deliver evidence-based treatments and practices to children exposed to violence. Based on its success to date, OVC plans to add the training to its training by request roster and work with HHS and APA to produce a version specifically for child welfare professionals.
  • National  Center for Missing and Exploited Children logo The OVC-supported Victim Reunification Travel Program strives to reunite children abducted from their homes by non-custodial parents—a crime compounded by taking the child out of the country. Working through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, OVC provided $234,027 to support 73 abduction cases involving 108 children in 37 countries during FYs 2011 and 2012. The specifics of each case vary, but the emotional trauma of the children and the parents left behind is universal. These abductions also may be related to other crimes. For example, when two brothers failed to return their children to their mothers after an authorized outing, authorities thought the men had fled to escape criminal associates. Multiple agencies became involved, including the FBI, which located the children and their fathers in the Netherlands, where the mothers were flown to be reunited with their children.
  • OVC is supporting the development of an online bulletin and toolkit to help communities replicate the HALOS (Helping And Lending Outreach Support) model of linking social services workers to community partners in order to meet the needs of abused and neglected children in foster care. At any given time, Charleston County (South Carolina) Social Services, which HALOS supports, has some 1,800 open cases of child abuse and neglect.

More About Related Programs

9 National Survey on Children's Exposure to Violence, October 2009, Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (accessed November 2, 2012).