Reporting assaults against juveniles to the police - Barriers and catalysts

Academic Article


  • Reporting crimes to the police is a two-stage process. Victims and families first recognize whether a crime has occurred and, if so, are influenced by a variety of considerations in deciding whether to report it. In a national sample of physical and sexual assaults against juveniles, recognition of the assault as a crime was more likely for episodes involving adolescent (vs. preadolescent) victims, adult and multiple offenders, physical injuries, female victims, and when families had prior experiences with police. Among families who recognized the episode as a crime, actual reporting to police was more likely when the perpetrator was an adult, the family had been advised to report, the family had prior experience with the police, the family believed the police would take the episode seriously, and when the child was believed still to be in danger from the perpetrator. Reporting was less likely for assaults that occurred at school.
  • Authors

  • Finkelhor, David
  • Wolak, J
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • February 2003
  • Has Subject Area


  • juvenile victims
  • police
  • reporting
  • sexual assault
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 103
  • End Page

  • 128
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 2