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Sat Jul 11, 2015, 07:41 AM

80 percent of girls in juvenile detention have been sexually or physically abused: study


80 percent of girls in juvenile detention have been sexually or physically abused: study
International Business Times
10 Jul 2015 at 12:44 ET

Roughly 80 percent of girls in juvenile detention centers have been sexually or physically abused according to a study released on Thursday by the Human Rights Project for Girls, the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality and the Ms. Foundation for Women. Because many of the girls have been incarcerated for issues related to their trauma or abuse, according to the report, its authors recommend screening children for sex trafficking, trauma and abuse, as well as no longer arresting girls for prostitution and low-level crime.

The report, titled "The Sexual Abuse To Prison Pipeline," says that detention centers often increase trauma for girls who have previously been abused, with 88 percent of youth in the juvenile justice system residing in facilities without licensed professionals as mental health counselors. The report proposes reforming mental health care inside juvenile facilities in order to deal with the complex trauma of many of the girls and decrease recidivism rates.

Women are overwhelmingly incarcerated for nonviolent offenses, according to the report, and the majority disproportionately are women of color coming from low-income backgrounds. The report suggests the leading causes of arrests for girls--truancy, substance abuse and running away--are also all common symptoms of abuse.

"It's victim-blaming of the worst kind," said Lindsey Rosenthaal, one of the authors of the study in a conference call with reporters, according to Al-Jazeera.

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