Public awareness about the high rates of victimization among children and adolescents has never been greater. Consequently, the demand is also high for good information about the extent and forms of juvenile victimization. Professionals from a wide variety of fields (including social services, criminal justice, psychology, and health) are now expected to participate in identifying victimization and developing effective intervention programs.
Both the identification of incidents of victimization and the development of effective interventions are greatly enhanced through the use of self-report questionnaires. Many studies have shown that the use of a standard questionnaire will elicit more reports of victimization than informal assessment and will clarify the meanings of these reports. Questionnaires also identify many more instances of victimization than official police or CPS statistics.
To choose an appropriate victimization instrument, you need to consider several issues. These include what type of victimization you want to measure, whether you plan to conduct interviews or want a self-administered questionnaire, whether you need results to correspond to official crime and child protection categories, what period of time you want to know about, what ages of children you want to survey, and whether you would like to compare your results with national norms. There are many questionnaires currently available from which to choose that should be suitable for many needs.