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Preprimary, Elementary, and Secondary Education

Incidence of Nonfatal Victimization at School and Away From School

Last Updated: September 2023
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This indicator also appears under School Crime and Safety.
In 2021, the rate of nonfatal victimization at school (victimization occurring when students were on school property or on their way to or from school) for students ages 12–18 was 7 victimizations per 1,000 students, and the rate of nonfatal victimization not in connection with school was 15 victimizations per 1,000 students.
Data from the 2021 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)1 indicated that students ages 12–18 experienced 170,600 total victimizations (i.e., thefts2 and nonfatal violent victimizations3) at or on the way to or from school and 384,300 total victimizations not in connection with school.4 The total nonfatal victimization rates in 2021 were 7 victimizations per 1,000 students at or on the way to or from school and 15 victimizations per 1,000 students not in connection with school. (For ease of communication, victimizations taking place in the school building, on school property, or on the way to or from school are referred to as “at school,” and victimizations taking place elsewhere are referred to as “away from school.”)
The NCVS is a self-reported survey that is administered annually from January 1 to December 31. NCVS estimates are based on the number and characteristics of crimes that respondents experienced during the prior 6 months, not including the month in which they were interviewed. Therefore, the 2021 survey covers crimes experienced from July 1, 2020, to November 30, 2021; the midpoint of the reference period is March 15, 2021. Crimes are classified by the year of the survey, not by the year of the crime.

Select a subgroup characteristic from the drop-down menu below to view relevant text and figures.

Figure 1. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by type of victimization and location: 2010 through 2021
Figure 1. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by type of victimization and location: 2010 through 2021

1 In prior reports, “violent victimization excluding simple assault” was labeled as “serious violent victimization.” Interpret the 2020 and 2021 estimates for violent victimization excluding simple assault at school with caution; the coefficients of variation (CV) for these estimates are between 30 and 50 percent.

NOTE: Every 10 years, the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) sample is redesigned to reflect changes in the population. Due to a sample increase and redesign in 2016, victimization estimates among students ages 12–18 in 2016 are not comparable to estimates for other years. “Total victimization” includes theft and all violent victimization. “Theft” includes attempted and completed purse-snatching, completed pickpocketing, and all attempted and completed thefts, with the exception of motor vehicle thefts. Theft does not include robbery, which involves the threat or use of force and is classified as a violent crime. “All violent victimization” includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. “At school” includes in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and going to or from school. Although this indicator (“Incidence of Nonfatal Victimization at School and Away From School”) and the indicator “Prevalence of Criminal Victimization at School” present information on similar topics, this indicator is based solely on data collected in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), while the “Prevalence” indicator is based on data collected in the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the NCVS as well as demographic data collected in the NCVS. This indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to the NCVS, while the “Prevalence” indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to both the NCVS and the SCS. Inclusion criteria for the NCVS and SCS differ slightly. For example, students who are exclusively homeschooled are able to complete the NCVS but not the SCS. The NCVS data in this indicator are reported in accordance with Bureau of Justice Statistics standards. The population size for students ages 12–18 was 25,132,500 in 2021. In 2020 and 2021, schools across the country suspended or modified in-person classes to mitigate the risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Students may have spent less time at school than in previous years due to these modified procedures. Estimates may vary from previously published reports.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), 2010 through 2021. See Digest of Education Statistics 2022, table 228.20.

The total victimization rate in 2019 was not significantly different than the rate in 2010, both at school and away from school. From 2019 to 2021,5 the rate of total victimization at school decreased from 30 to 7 victimizations per 1,000 students. From 2019 to 2021, the rate of total victimization away from school did not change significantly (15 victimizations per 1,000 students in 2021).6 [Time series ]
At school between 2010 and 2021,
  • the theft victimization rate decreased between 2010 and 2019 (from 18 to 9 victimizations per 1,000 students) and decreased further from 2019 to 2021 (2 victimizations per 1,000 students in 2021); and
  • the violent victimization rate in 2019 was not significantly different than the rate in 2010, but the rate decreased between 2019 and 2021 (from 21 to 5 victimizations per 1,000 students).
Away from school between 2010 and 2021,
  • the theft victimization rate decreased (from 15 to 6 victimizations per 1,000 students);
  • the violent victimization rate did not change significantly (10 victimizations per 1,000 in 2021); and
  • the violent victimization rate excluding simple assault did not change significantly (4 victimizations per 1,000 in 2021).
[Time series ]
From 2020 to 2021, the rate of total victimization at school decreased from 11 to 7 victimizations per 1,000 students. During this time period,
  • theft victimizations decreased from 4 to 2 victimizations per 1,000 students; and
  • violent victimizations did not change significantly.
The rate of total victimization away from school was not statistically different from 2020 to 2021. Similarly, the rates of theft, total violent victimization, and violent victimization excluding simple assault away from school did not change significantly between 2020 and 2021. [Time series ]
Victimization Rates by Individual and Household Characteristics
Figure 2. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by location, type of victimization, and sex: 2021
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Bar | Table
A confidence interval is a range of values that describes the uncertainty surrounding an estimate. Throughout the Condition of Education, confidence intervals are calculated as the estimate +/- the margin of error, based on a 95 percent level of confidence. This means that there is 95 percent certainty that the range includes the true or actual value of the statistic.
Confidence Interval
Bar | Table
Users can select years at irregular intervals. However, as a result, the distance between the data points will not be proportional to the number of years between them.
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! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.

NOTE: To estimate the margin of error, the standard error is scaled based on the desired level of confidence in the estimate. Throughout the Condition of Education, margins of error are produced based on a 95 percent level of confidence. Margin of error is calculated as 1.96*standard error. “Total victimization” includes theft and violent victimization. “Theft” includes attempted and completed purse-snatching, completed pickpocketing, and all attempted and completed thefts, with the exception of motor vehicle thefts. Theft does not include robbery, which involves the threat or use of force and is classified as a violent crime. “Violent victimization” includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. “At school” includes in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and going to or from school. Although this indicator (“Incidence of Nonfatal Victimization at School and Away From School”) and the indicator “Prevalence of Criminal Victimization at School” present information on similar topics, this indicator is based solely on data collected in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), while the “Prevalence” indicator is based on data collected in the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the NCVS as well as demographic data collected in the NCVS. This indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to the NCVS, while the “Prevalence” indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to both the NCVS and the SCS. Inclusion criteria for the NCVS and SCS differ slightly. For example, students who are exclusively homeschooled are able to complete the NCVS but not the SCS. The NCVS data in this indicator are reported in accordance with Bureau of Justice Statistics standards. The population size for students ages 12–18 was 25,132,500 in 2021. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding and missing data on student characteristics.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), 2021. See Digest of Education Statistics 2022, table 228.25.

Based on the 2021 survey, there were no statistically significant differences in the rates of total victimization, theft,7 and violent victimization, either at school or away from school, between male and female students. By comparison, the rates of total victimization at school for male students were higher than the rates for female students in 2020 and 2019. [Time series ] [Sex or gender]
Figure 3. Rate of nonfatal victimization against students ages 12–18 per 1,000 students, by location, type of victimization, and age: 2021
Hover, click, and tap to see more for all figures on this page.
Bar | Table
A confidence interval is a range of values that describes the uncertainty surrounding an estimate. Throughout the Condition of Education, confidence intervals are calculated as the estimate +/- the margin of error, based on a 95 percent level of confidence. This means that there is 95 percent certainty that the range includes the true or actual value of the statistic.
Confidence Interval
Bar | Table
Users can select years at irregular intervals. However, as a result, the distance between the data points will not be proportional to the number of years between them.
X
Embed this figure

! Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.

NOTE: To estimate the margin of error, the standard error is scaled based on the desired level of confidence in the estimate. Throughout the Condition of Education, margins of error are produced based on a 95 percent level of confidence. Margin of error is calculated as 1.96*standard error. “Total victimization” includes theft and violent victimization. “Theft” includes attempted and completed purse-snatching, completed pickpocketing, and all attempted and completed thefts, with the exception of motor vehicle thefts. Theft does not include robbery, which involves the threat or use of force and is classified as a violent crime. “Violent victimization” includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. “At school” includes in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and going to or from school. Although this indicator (“Incidence of Nonfatal Victimization at School and Away From School”) and the indicator “Prevalence of Criminal Victimization at School” present information on similar topics, this indicator is based solely on data collected in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), while the “Prevalence” indicator is based on data collected in the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the NCVS as well as demographic data collected in the NCVS. This indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to the NCVS, while the “Prevalence” indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to both the NCVS and the SCS. Inclusion criteria for the NCVS and SCS differ slightly. For example, students who are exclusively homeschooled are able to complete the NCVS but not the SCS. The NCVS data in this indicator are reported in accordance with Bureau of Justice Statistics standards. The population size for students ages 12–18 was 25,132,500 in 2021. Detail may not sum to totals due to rounding and missing data on student characteristics.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), 2021. See Digest of Education Statistics 2022, table 228.25.

Based on the 2021 survey, away from school, the rate of
  • total victimization was higher for students ages 15–18 (20 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for students ages 12–14 (10 victimizations per 1,000 students);
  • theft victimization was higher for students ages 15–18 (8 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for students ages 12–14 (4 victimizations per 1,000 students); and
  • violent victimization was higher for students ages 15–18 (12 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for students ages 12–14 (7 victimizations per 1,000 students).8
[Age group]
While the rate of total victimization away from school in 2021 did not differ significantly between Hispanic and White students, the rate of theft victimizations away from school was higher for Hispanic students (9 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for White students (4 victimizations per 1,000 students). Similar to the rate of total victimization away from school, the rate of violent victimization away from school did not differ significantly between White and Hispanic students.9, 10 [Race/ethnicity ]
The rate of total victimization away from school in 2021 was higher for students in suburban areas (17 victimizations per 1,000 students) than for students in rural areas (9 victimizations per 1,000 students). The rate of total victimization away from school did not differ significantly for students in urban areas (15 victimizations per 1,000 students) compared with students in suburban or rural areas.11 [Locale ]
Away from school, the total victimization rate in 2021 was lowest for students living in households earning $100,000 or more per year (6 victimizations per 1,000 students) compared with other household income groups:
  • 18 victimizations per 1,000 students for those living in households earning $50,000 to $99,999 per year;
  • 17 victimizations per 1,000 students for those living in households earning $25,000 to $49,999 per year; and
  • 30 victimizations per 1,000 students for those living in households earning less than $25,000 per year.12, 13
[Socioeconomic status (SES) ]

1 Although this indicator (“Incidence of Nonfatal Victimization at School and Away From School”) and the indicator “Prevalence of Criminal Victimization at School” present information on similar topics, this indicator is based solely on data collected in the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), while the “Prevalence” indicator is based on data collected in the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the NCVS as well as demographic data collected in the NCVS. This indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to the NCVS, while the “Prevalence” indicator uses data from all students ages 12–18 who responded to both the NCVS and the SCS. Inclusion criteria for the NCVS and SCS differ slightly. For example, students who are exclusively homeschooled are able to complete the NCVS but not the SCS. The NCVS data in this indicator are reported in accordance with Bureau of Justice Statistics standards.

2 “Theft” includes attempted and completed purse-snatching, completed pickpocketing, and all attempted and completed thefts, with the exception of motor vehicle thefts. Theft does not include robbery, which involves the threat or use of force, and is classified as a violent crime.

3 “Violent victimization” includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.

4 “Students” refers to those ages 12–18 whose educational attainment did not exceed grade 12 at the time of the survey. An uncertain percentage of these persons may not have attended school during the survey reference period. These data do not take into account the number of hours that students spend at school or away from school. “At school” includes in the school building, on school property, on a school bus, and going to or from school.

5 In 2020 and 2021, schools across the country suspended or modified in-person classes to mitigate the risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Students may have spent less time at school than in previous years due to these modified procedures.

6 Every 10 years, the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) sample is redesigned to reflect changes in the population. Due to the sample redesign and other methodological changes implemented in 2006, use caution when comparing 2006 estimates with other years. Due to a sample increase and redesign in 2016, victimization estimates among students ages 12–18 in 2016 are not comparable to estimates for other years.

7 Due to the variance in the data (the coefficient of variation is greater than 30 percent), comparisons were not made between the rates of theft victimization for male and female students at school.

8 Due to the variance in the data (the coefficient of variation is greater than 30 percent), comparisons were not made between the rates of victimization at school for students ages 12–14 and 15–18.

9 Victimization rates did not differ significantly between other racial/ethnic groups or were not compared due to the variance in the data (the coefficient of variation is greater than 30 percent).

10 Data for all students who were of a race/ethnicity other than Black, Hispanic, or White were combined for reporting and analyses. These students included those who were American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Pacific Islander, and of Two or more races.

11 Due to the variance in the data (the coefficient of variation is greater than 30 percent), comparisons by urbanicity were not made between the rates of victimization at school.

12 Income data for 2021 were imputed. For more information, see Criminal Victimization, 2021, available at https://bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv21.pdf.

13 Due to the variance in the data (the coefficient of variation is greater than 30 percent), comparisons were not made between the rates of victimization at school for students with different levels of household income.

Supplemental Information

Table 228.20 (Digest 2022): Number of nonfatal victimizations against students ages 12–18 and rate of victimization per 1,000 students, by type of victimization and location: 1992 through 2021;
Table 228.25 (Digest 2022): Number of nonfatal victimizations against students ages 12–18 and rate of victimization per 1,000 students, by type of victimization, location, and selected student characteristics: 2021
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Previous versions of this indicator available in the Indicators of School Crime and Safety reports.
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Suggested Citation

National Center for Education Statistics. (2023). Incidence of Nonfatal Victimization at School and Away From School. Condition of Education. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved [date], from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/a02.