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Trauma Abuse Statistics

Numbers Don't Begin to Tell the Story
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Trauma Statistics


  • 60% of adults report experiencing abuse or other difficult family circumstances during childhood. (1)
  • 26% of children in the United States will witness or experience a traumatic event before they turn four. (1)
  • Four of every 10 children in American say they experienced a physical assault during the past year, with one in 10 receiving an assault-related injury. (2)
  • 2% of all children experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse during the past year, with the rate at nearly 11% for girls aged 14 to 17. (2)
  • Nearly 14% of children repeatedly experienced maltreatment by a caregiver, including nearly 4% who experienced physical abuse. (2)
  • 1 in 4 children was the victim of robbery, vandalism or theft during the previous year. (2)
  • More than 13% of children reported being physically bullied, while more than 1 in 3 said they had been emotionally bullied. (2)
  • 1 in 5 children witnessed violence in their family or the neighborhood during the previous year. (2)
  • In one year, 39% of children between the ages of 12 and 17 reported witnessing violence, 17%reported being a victim of physical assault and 8% reported being the victim of sexual assault. (3)
  • More than 60% of youth age 17 and younger have been exposed to crime, violence and abuse either directly or indirectly. (4)
  • More than 10% of youth age 17 and younger reported five or more exposures to violence. (4)
  • About 10% of children suffered from child maltreatment, were injured in an assault, or witnessed a family member assault another family member. (4)
  • About 25% of youth age 17 and younger were victims of robbery or witnessed a violent act. (4)
  • Nearly half of children and adolescents were assaulted at least once in the past year. (4)
  • Among 536 elementary and middle school children surveyed in an inner city community, 30% had witnessed a stabbing and 26% had witnessed a shooting. (5)
  • Young children exposed to five or more significant adverse experiences in the first three years of childhood face a 76% likelihood of having one or more delays in their language, emotional or brain development. (6)
  • As the number of traumatic events experienced during childhood increases, the risk for the following health problems in adulthood increases: depression; alcoholism; drug abuse; suicide attempts; heart and liver diseases; pregnancy problems; high stress; uncontrollable anger; and family, financial, and job problems. (6)

People who have experienced trauma are:

  • 15 times more likely to attempt suicide
  • 4 times more likely to become an alcoholic
  • 4 times more likely to develop a sexually transmitted disease
  • 4 times more likely to inject drugs
  • 3 times more likely to use antidepressant medication
  • 3 times more likely to be absent from work
  • 3 times more likely to experience depression
  • 3 times more likely to have serious job problems
  • 2.5 times more likely to smoke
  • 2 times more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • 2 times more likely to have a serious financial problem



(1) National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention, "Childhood Trauma and Its Effect on Healthy Development," July 2012 

(2) JAMA Pediatrics, May 2013

(2) Kilpatrick DG, Saunders BE. (1997). "Prevalence and Consequences of Child Victimization: Results from the National Survey of Adolescents." National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Medical University of South Carolina

(3) Finkelhor, David; Turner, Heather; Ormrod, Richard; Hamby, Sherry; Kracke, Kristen (October 2009). "Children's Exposure to Violence, a Comprehensive National Survey." Office of Justice Programs Juvenile Justice Bulletin. 

(4) Bell, C.C. & Jenkins E.J. (1993). "Community Violence and Children on Chicago's Southside." Psychiatry, 56 (1): 46-54.

(5) "Building Resilience in Children and Youth Dealing with Trauma," Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (

(6) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 

The Victims of Trafficking in Persons 

The crime of human trafficking is heavily rooted in social and economic conditions including poverty, family violence,  marginalization, lack of education. It is facilitated by practices that discriminate against the most vulnerable groups in society - in particular, women and children, but also refugees and migrants.

Women and girls make up 70% of overall trafficking victims worldwide. The vast majority are young women who have been forced into the sex trade. Women are also exploited for domestic servitude and forced labor.

Men are often exploited for forced labor, enduring harsh physical conditions and abuse. Male victims are frequently overlooked because of a common misperception that men are not trafficked.

Children trafficking is a major concern. Children are exploited for forced labor, petty crime and begging, child pornography and sex. Children account for 1 in 3 victims of human trafficking worldwide, though in some regions these figures are higher. Children who are forced to serve as soldiers are also considered as victims of human trafficking.

For more information on human trafficking, visit United Nations on Drugs and Crime.
Read more about human trafficking indicators.

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