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12 Percent of Adjudicated Youth Experience Unwanted Sexual Activity

Feb 4, 2010

About 12 percent of young people in juvenile facilities experienced at least one episode of unwanted sexual activity in 2008 and 2009, according to a study released in January by the U.S. Department of Justice. Sexual victimization was defined as unwanted sexual activity between youth, or any sexual activity between staff and youth.

About one in ten adjudicated youth said they were victimized by facility staff members; the remaining 2.6 percent said the incident involved another imprisoned youth. More than two-thirds of the youth victimized by facility staff did not report any force, threat of force or offers of favors, protection, drugs or alcohol – but nearly half of those who were victimized by another youth said they experienced physical force or threat of force (46 percent), 30 percent had been offered favors or protection, and 17 percent had been given drugs or alcohol.

The findings varied significantly by gender. Males – who comprise about 91 percent of the population in juvenile facilities – were more likely to report sexual activity with facility staff, about 42 percent of whom are female. Females were more likely to report forced sexual activity with another youth.

The National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC) was mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act and was conducted between June 2008 and April 2009 in 166 state-owned or operated juvenile facilities, and 29 locally or privately operated facilities, yielding 9,198 completed interviews from adjudicated youth. Click here to read the full report.

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