One of the starkest statistics in the lives of girls today is that 73 percent of girls in the juvenile justice system have been physically or sexually abused, according to U.S. Bureau of Justice figures.
A report last summer referred to this as the “sexual-abuse-to-prison pipeline.”
Experiencing abuse is one of the major predictors of girls themselves getting into trouble, according to the report published by the Human Rights Project for Girls, the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality, and the Ms. Foundation for Women.
The most common crimes for which girls are arrested — including running away, substance abuse and truancy — are also the most common symptoms of abuse, the report noted.
“Girls are pretty invisible” in current efforts to reform the juvenile justice system, said Stephanie Covington, a psychologist who provides training and consulting services to criminal justice agencies through the La Jolla, California-based Center for Gender and Justice.
“People don’t talk about the girls,” she said. ..