Report on Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Correctional Facilities

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, October 2010

In a society that values the dignity of each individual, any incident of sexual victimization of a youth in custody is unacceptable. From this perspective, the Panel reviewed the BJS Juvenile Report and noted that violent sexual assault in juvenile facilities is relatively rare and that facility staff members, for the most part, do not victimize juvenile offenders. The Panel commends juvenile justice administrators who have, as a whole, worked hard toward eliminating sexual victimization in their facilities.

The BJS Juvenile Report found that of the estimated 26,551 adjudicated youth held in state facilities or large non-state facilities in 2008-09, about 12.1% (3,220) reported experiencing sexual violence. About 2.6% of these reported incidents involved other youths, whereas about 10.3% involved facility staff members. For the reported youth-on-youth incidents, 2.0% involved nonconsensual acts; for the reported staff-on-youth incidents, 4.3% involved force and 6.4% did not involve force. Facilities that housed only female youth offenders had the highest rates of youth-on-youth victimization (11.0%), whereas facilities that housed only male youth offenders had the highest rates of staff sexual misconduct (11.3%).

Small juvenile facilities had lower victimization rates than larger ones. Facilities that held between ten and twenty-five adjudicated youth had the lowest overall rates of sexual victimization (6.3%), a result of the relatively low rate of staff sexual misconduct (2.7%), whereas facilities that held one hundred or more adjudicated youth had the highest overall rates of sexual victimization (12.9%)

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