Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2012: National Survey of Youth in Custody, 2012; Allen J. Beck, David Cantor, John Hartge, and Tim Smith; U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics

Executive Orders, Reports, and Directives

This report contains findings from the second national survey assessing the sexual victimization of state adjudicated youth held in juvenile facilities across the United States. The National Survey of Youth in Custody-2 (NSYC-2) is part of the National Prison Rape Statistics Program. The survey samples youth from facilities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, both state-run and privately operated under state contract, and presents data on allegations of sexual victimization perpetrated by both youth and facility staff. Over 8,700 youth participated in the survey; participation was anonymous and reports of victimization were kept confidential.

The NSYC-2 found that about 10% of youth in surveyed facilities reported one or more incidents of sexual victimization. The survey further discussed specific facility-level rates and state-level rates. It found that sexual victimization rates were strongly tied to specific demographics, and presented data by participant sex, age, race, sexual orientation, prior history of sexual assault, and amount of time in the facility. Circumstances surrounding the incident(s), including the number of incidents and perpetrators, were assessed, as well.

In interpreting these results, the reader should consider potential sampling errors, over- or underreporting of victimization by youth respondents, and the low number of states (15/50) in which contract facilities were able to be included. The report includes neither limitations nor specific conclusions for the reader. However, the data presented make clear that sexual victimization of youth in juvenile facilities is a significant problem, particularly for vulnerable populations including LGBTQ youth and youth who have experienced prior sexual assault. State agencies and facilities staff must implement guidelines such as the Teen SENSE Model Policies and Standards to ensure that youth in out-of-home care receive appropriate sexual health care and sexual health capacity-building resources from culturally competent staff. These services will help reduce the risk of sexual victimization in juvenile justice facilities.