A new study carried out by researchers at the University of North Hampshire indicated that over one quarter of United States children have been exposed to weapon violence.
The study was conducted as an extensive telephone survey, reaching out to millions of children nationwide.
Of these, the study indicates that 26.5 percent or 17.5 million children in the age group between 2 and 17 years old have either been direct victims of weapon violence or have witnessed at least one instance of weapon using to victimize another person.
The 26.5 percent of those surveyed were separated in 12.5 percent or 2 million children who fell victim to weapon victimization and 13.1 percent who answered that they saw violence involving a weapon.
The weapons were defined as any object that could severely harm children and special reference was made to knives, guns as high lethality risk weapons, followed by bottles, shards of glass, tools, metal objects or brass knuckles, rocks and sticks.
Ph.D. Kimberly J. Mitchell, lead author of the study detailing weapon victimization with children stated that there are 2.1 percent children who reported at least one direct exposure to weapons with high lethality risk and 0.9 percent children who told surveyors of indirect exposure.
The environments in which these children live were taken into account as well. Living with a caregiver that is not the child’s parent as well brings about a 7.9 percent risk of being exposed to violence involving guns or knives.
Falling victim to threats with a gun or a knife prompted 13.2 percent of the children to carry weapons of their own. 12.3 percent of the children reported that a peer carried a weapon for protection. A staggering 8.4 percent of the children reported having been victimized seven or more times during the past year.
Split on the gender variable, boys were more willing to report events that led to victimization than girls. Only 18.4 percent of girls reported incidents, compared to 23.9 percent of boys. Overall weapon victimization resulted in 61.7 percent of the children having reported multiple victimizations. Researchers found that 42 percent of the children had trauma symptoms and 35 percent reported high adversity to weapons of any kind.
The University of New Hampshire team wishes to further the study with a risk assessment associated with firearms.
The results of this study are published in the journal Pediatrics.
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