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  September 2001

Crimes against ChildrenCrimes Against Children by Babysitters

David Finkelhor and Richard Ormrod


The Data


Victim Characteristics
Offender Characteristics



NCJ 189102

This Bulletin was prepared under grant number 98JNFX0012 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.

Points of view or opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of OJJDP or the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office for Victims of Crime.

A Message From OJJDP

Although only 14 percent of our Nation's 18.5 million children less than 5 years old are cared for regularly by a nonrelated inhome childcare or family daycare provider, many—perhaps most—have been cared for by a babysitter on occasion.

Highly publicized criminal cases such as the conviction of au pair Louise Woodward in the tragic death of 8-month-old Matthew Eappen have raised public concern about children's safety and the manner in which childcare providers are screened and monitored. Such regard for the welfare of children is both understandable and laudable, but what are the facts about the risks involved in childcare?

Until recently, little was known about the prevalence of criminal offenses among babysitters. This Bulletin, part of OJJDP's Crimes Against Children Series, draws on the FBI's National Incident-Based Reporting System to provide data on the frequency and nature of crimes against children committed by babysitters.

The fact that babysitters account for approximately 4 percent of crimes committed against children less than 6 years old—a rate below that of complete strangers—helps put the matter in perspective.

Of course, the victimization of any child is unacceptable, and it is hoped that the information that this Bulletin offers will enhance efforts to combat such crimes.



This Bulletin was prepared by David Finkelhor, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Director, Crimes against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, david.finkelhor@ unh.edu; and Richard Ormrod, Ph.D., Research Professor, Crimes against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, rormrod@cisunix.unh.edu.

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