This Research in Brief addresses whether sexual and physical abuse in childhood and adolescence are risk factors for becoming a victim of violence against women as an adult. It provides useful information for the application of secondary prevention initiatives - targeted services to select (at-risk) individuals, in an effort to decrease the incidence of violence against women by reducing known or suspected risk factors.
NIJ Summary: "It combines the results taken from two studies, one of which followed college women and men for 4 years, and the other, which followed low-income, mostly black women who had been victims of childhood sexual abuse. Each study found that child sexual abuse alone was a risk factor only when combined with adolescent sexual abuse. Although each study examined a narrowly defined population, taken together, both studies came to remarkably similar conclusions."
The two studies upon which this Research In Brief is based are:
- "Developmental Antecedents of Violence Against Women" (NCJ 187775) by Jacquelyn W. White and Paige Hall Smith of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro
- "Risk Factors for Violent Victimization of Women: A Prospective Study" (NCJ 189161) by Jane A. Siegel of Rutgers University-Camden and Linda M. Williams of the Stone Center at Wellesley College