The first step in thinking about childhood victimization is defining it. The term covers a wide range of circumstances in which a child suffers physical, sexual or emotional harm or is exposed to threats of such harm. A child may be victimized by family members, peers, acquaintances, or strangers. Types of child victimization can range from extreme forms of child abuse to various types of bullying or neglect. What all of these forms of victimization have in common is that the child is in some way involuntarily harmed or threatened.
Childhood victimization has two types of connections with crimes. First, a victimized child is not only the victim of a crime, but is in the presence of people committing crimes, who may be role models. Thus due to lack of positive role models, distrust of authority, or psychological damage, children who have been victimized are significantly more likely to be revictimized or to be involved in criminal activities than people who have not been victimized as children.