Administrators of state juvenile correctional facilities reported 865 allegations of sexual victimization in 2012, a significant increase from the 735 allegations reported in 2011 and 690 in 2010, says a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. The report notes that the number of youth held in state juvenile systems declined sharply, from 38,580 at yearend 2006 to 19,095 at yearend 2012. As a result, the rate of sexual victimization allegations per 1,000 youth held in state juvenile systems more than doubled, from 19 per 1,000 youth in 2005 to 47 per 1,000 in 2012, BJS said.
A companion report from BJS on the subject “offers the strongest evidence to date that it’s entirely possible to keep youth safe from sexual violence, as long as facility leaders commit to doing so,” said the advocacy group Just Detention International. It added that, “The differences between safe and dangerous facilities are straightforward. In safe facilities, staff build trust among youth in their custody, create a climate of openness, and make sure that all youth understand their right to be safe and the absolute prohibition against staff sexual misconduct. Dangerous facilities lack these conditions, and thereby fail to uphold their core mission to ensure youth safety.”