There is no fear greater for a parent then the thought of something bad happening to their child. While nothing will ever totally alleviate that fear, a new study on child safety in the U.S. should provide al least some comfort.
Crimes against children, such as assaults and general bullying, are down significantly along with crimes against children of low-income families and those of color.
According to the study, conducted by the Crimes Against Children Research Center, the results interestingly mirror the larger trend that some sociologists call "the great crime decline" that has seen rates of violence in general decrease in the U.S. since the 1990s.
Of the 50 trends in exposure examined in the report, there were 27 significant declines and no significant increases between 2003 and 2011. The report details declines were particularly large for assault victimization, bullying, and sexual victimization. There were also significant declines in the perpetration of violence and property crime.
Unusual, the researchers explain, was the fact the recession didn't reverse the trend as historically more violence and crime occurs during troubling economic times. For the recession period between 2008 and 2011, there were 11 significant declines and no increases for 50 specific trends examined. Dating violence declined, as did one form of sexual victimization and some forms of indirect exposure.
"We often expect stress and dislocation that happens during a recession can exacerbate conflicts and crime and violence, but it seems not to have been the case for the most part in the most recent recession," said the study's lead author David Finkelhor.
The study also noted several other positives revolving around American youth as the high school dropout rate is down, the number of missing children is down, overall teen sexual behavior is getting more responsible and teenage pregnancies are down.
As for conclusions being drawn in the study's findings, Finkelhor believes today's technology has played an unexpected role in violence reduction as more and more young children have cell phones allowing them to call for help at any time.