We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.

Homicides of Children and Youth

October 2001:

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is committed to improving the justice system’s response to crimes against children. OJJDP recognizes that children are at increased risk for crime victimization. Not only are children the victims of many of the same crimes that victimize adults, they are subject to other crimes, like child abuse and neglect, that are specific to childhood. The impact of these crimes on young victims can be devastating, and the violent or sexual victimization of children can often lead to an intergenerational cycle of violence and abuse. The purpose of OJJDP’s Crimes Against Children Series is to improve and expand the Nation’s efforts to better serve child victims by presenting the latest information about child victimization, iincluding analyses of crime victimization statistics, studies of child victims and their special needs, and descriptions of programs and approaches that address these needs.

Murders of children and youth, the ultimate form of juvenile victimization, have received a great deal of deserved publicity in recent years.1 Yet, while images of Polly Klaas and student victims at Columbine High School are vivid in the public’s mind, statistics on juvenile murder victims are not. Substantial misunderstandings exist about the magnitude of and trends in juvenile homicide and the types of children at risk of becoming victims of different types of homicide.

This Bulletin gives a brief statistical portrait of various facets of child and youth homicide victimization in the United States. It draws heavily on homicide data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHRs), which are part of the Bureau’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program; however, it also relies on a variety of other studies and statistical sources.

Highlights of the findings presented in this Bulletin include the following:

-- In 1999, about 1,800 juveniles (a rate of 2.6 per 100,000) were victims of homicide in the United States. This rate is substantially higher than that of any other developed country.

-- Homicides of juveniles in the United States are unevenly distributed, both geographically and demographically. Rates are substantially higher for African American juveniles and for juveniles in certain jurisdictions. Yet, 85 percent of all U.S. counties had no homicides of juveniles in 1997.

-- Homicides of young children (age 5 and younger), children in middle childhood (ages 6 to 11), and teenagers (ages 12 to 17)2 differ on a number of dimensions, suggesting that they should be analyzed separately.

-- Most homicides of young children are committed by family members through beatings or suffocation. Although victims include approximately equal numbers of boys and girls, offenders include a disproportionate number of women. Homicides of young children may be seriously undercounted.

-- Middle childhood is a time when a child’s homicide risk is relatively low. Homicides of children in middle childhood show a mixed pattern. Some result from child maltreatment and others from the use of firearms. Some are sexually motivated, and some are committed as part of multiple-victim family homicides.

-- Homicides of teenagers, most of which involve male victims killed by male offenders using firearms, rose dramatically in the late 1980s and early 1990s but have declined sharply since 1993.

For the remainder of this study: Prepared for U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention by David Finkelhor and Richard Ormrod

As to homicides by sex offenders (by "sex offenders" does not necessarily mean, previously convicted sex offenders, instead means homicides by persons committing a sex offense, whether or not they were previously convicted of a prior sex offense.) see pages:

Pg-8 : Homicides of children in middle childhood also appear to stem from a variety of other motives. For example, children of this age are at risk of sexual homicides. Some sex offenders are attracted to children in this age range and sometimes murder children to hide their crimes. A significant number of homicides of children ages 6 to 11 are negligent gun homicides, in which youth and/or other family members wield or misuse firearms that they believe to be harmless or unloaded. Children in middle childhood are also killed in the course of crimes such as robberies or carjackings, in which children are unintended victims. Family members sometimes murder children of this age in the course of arson attacks or whole-family suicidehomicides. The diversity of homicides of children of this age group makes them difficult to typify. ...

Pg-10: Table 2: Case Characteristics in Homicides of Juveniles Committed by Strangers, Unidentified Offenders, and Identified Nonstrangers:

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