Every year, millions of children and adolescents in the United States are impacted by violence, neglect and abuse in their homes, schools, and communities. Police can and do play an important role in protecting youth from violence and other risks, and in preventing youth from engaging in acts of crime and disorder.
The prevalence of sexual victimization of children in the United States is overwhelming, yet largely unrecognized and underreported. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one in five girls and one in ten boys will be sexually victimized before they reach adulthood, and less than 35% of these sexual assault cases are reported. The COPS Office Child Sexual Predator Program (CSPP) is aimed at reducing and preventing child endangerment and protecting communities from sexual predators. CSPP provides grants to help locate, arrest, and prosecute child sexual predators and exploiters, and enforce state sex offender registration laws. The program supports community policing initiatives throughout the United States by promoting partnerships between law enforcement and United States Attorneys' Offices (USAO), as well as with other community partners, such as the U.S. Marshals Service, parole and probation offices, social service agencies, and state or local prosecutors, to collectively reduce and prevent child endangerment by sexual predators.
Bullying may be the most underreported safety problem in American schools. America's children spend more time in school than almost any other place outside the home. That places a huge responsibility on schools and those charged with keeping them safe. Classrooms no longer depend solely on teachers, but on teams of administrators, health care workers, security staff, and law enforcement professionals to ensure students' safety. The COPS Office has trained more than 6,500 School Resource Officers through the COPS in Schools program. We continue to provide funding through the Secure Our Schools program for improved security at schools and on school grounds. Funding can be used to install metal detectors, locks, lighting, and other deterrent measures in schools, for security assessments, and for security training of personnel and students.