Harrell Center

Harrell Center

Violence hurts our families, our lives, our world.

The Harrell Center exists because family violence impacts all of us. We cannot solve this problem unless we understand the nature of it.

The Harrell Center seeks to end family violence by understanding it.

Working together to end Family Violence

Our Mission

To develop and integrate knowledge with best practices in order to strengthen community responses to family violence. The Harrell Center serves as an intermediary between research and practice.

The Harrell Center was created through a private endowment by The Harrell Family. Located at the University of South Florida College of Public Health, the Center is designed to conduct and translate research into usable information for practitioners, to provide education and training, and to serve as a resource and advocacy center for the public and professionals.

The Center provides an education site for students and involves an interdisciplinary faculty from public health, social work, mental health, aging, and other fields.


Child Abuse Recommendations from the National Strategy to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

  • Identify children and families most at risk of a maltreatment fatality. This is key in knowing when and how to intervene. It is recommended that states undertake a retrospective review of child abuse and neglect fatalities to help identify family and systemic circumstances that led to child maltreatment deaths. Ensuring that the most vulnerable children are seen and supported is a critical element of this process.
  • Sharing data electronically and in real time. This will have an immediate impact on improving child protection decision-making by state and local entities.
  • Reviewing life-threatening injuries. From abuse and neglect this is an important part of the picture when it comes to preventing maltreatment fatalities and should be included in the child death review process.



Children who are exposed to one type of violence, both within the past year or over their lifetimes, are at far greater risk of experiencing other types of violence. For instance, a child who has physically assaulted in the past year would be five times as likely also to have been sexually victimized and more than four times as likely also to have been maltreated during that period.

Eight percent of all youth in the nationally representative National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV) sample had seven or more different kinds of victimization or exposures to violence, crime, and abuse in the past year. These polyvictimized youth had a disproportionate share of the most serious kinds of victimizations, such as sexual victimizations and parental maltreatment. They also had more life adversities and were more likely to manifest symptoms of psychological distress.

Human Trafficking

Key Statistics

  • The National Human Trafficking Hotline has received reports of 22,191 sex trafficking cases inside the U.S. since 2007.
  • The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimated in 2016 that 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported to them were likely sex trafficking victims.
  • On a global scale, the International Labor Organization estimates that there 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation.
  • Between 2004 and 2013, the number of suspects in criminal matters referred to U.S. attorneys for commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) offenses increased by 54%, from 2,972 to 4,579 suspects. The number of defendants prosecuted in cases filed in U.S. district court with a CSEC charge increased by 98% during this period, from 1,405 to 2,776 cases. In 2013, CSEC offenses made up 3.3% of all suspects prosecuted in U.S. district court, up from 1.5% in 2004.

Human trafficking reports in the U.S. increase every year. A total of 8,042 cases of human trafficking were reported in 2016, a 35% jump over 2015. This increase is mostly due to the spreading of awareness of human trafficking and the National Human Trafficking Hotline. In 2016, 2,042 survivors contacted the Hotline directly which is a 24% increase from 2015. According to reports, sex trafficking victims were most often trafficked by their intimate partners, while labor trafficking victims were often recruited through a job offer. Labor trafficking soared by 47% but is still widely underreported. Due to a lack of awareness, labor trafficking often goes unrecognized compared to sex trafficking.

Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence

Physical Violence by an Intimate Partner

  • Physical violence by an intimate partner was experienced by almost a third of women (32.4%) and more than a quarter of men (28.3%) in their lifetime.
  • Nationally, severe physical violence was experienced by 23.2% of U.S. women and 13.9% of U.S. men during their lifetime.  
Sexual Violence by an Intimate Partner
  • Sexual violence by an intimate partner was experienced by 1 in 6 women (16.4%) and 1 in 14 men (7.0%) during their lifetime.  

Violence Experienced as a Minor

  • More than 1 in 14 women in the U.S. (7.0% or approximately 8.5 million women) reported having first experienced completed rape before the age of 18.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 (30.1%) female victims of completed rape experienced it first between 11 and 17 years of age and 1 in 9 (11.2%) reported that it occurred when they were age 10 or younger. 

Violence Experienced by Race/Ethnicity

  • In the U.S., half (49.5%) of multiracial women, 45.6% of American Indian/Alaska Native women, 38.9% of non-Hispanic White women, 35.5% of non-Hispanic Black women, 26.9% of Hispanic women, and 22.9% of Asian/ Pacific Islander women experienced some form of sexual violence during their lifetime.
  • Nationally, almost a third (31.9%) of multiracial men, 23.1% of American Indian/Alaska Native men, 19.4% of non-Hispanic Black men, 18.5% of Hispanic men, 16.5% of non-Hispanic White men, and 9.4% of Asian/Pacific Islander men experienced some form of sexual violence during their lifetime. 

Stalking Victimization

  • In the U.S., over one quarter of American Indian/Alaska Native women (28.0%) and multiracial women (25.7%), 1 in 6 non-Hispanic White (16.3%) and non-Hispanic Black (16.2%) women, 1 in 7 Hispanic (14.5%) women and 7.6% of Asian/ Pacific Islander women experienced stalking at some point in their lives.
  • Approximately 7.5% of multiracial men, 7.1% of non-Hispanic Black men, 6.2% of Hispanic men, and 5.0% of non-Hispanic White men in the U.S. were victims of stalking at some point in their lives.
  • The majority of female stalking victims (84.8%) were stalked by only male perpetrators.
  • Of male victims, 43.0% were stalked by only male perpetrators and 45.7% were stalked by only female perpetrators. 
Sex of Perpetrators
  • Across all forms of sexual violence, the majority of female victims reported that their perpetrators were male.
  • The majority of male victims of completed or attempted rape reported only male perpetrators with no statistically reliable state estimates. The majority of male victims who were made to penetrate someone else reported only female perpetrators. Similarly, the majority of male victims of sexual coercion reported only female perpetrators. 

Florida Abuse Hotline 1-800-96-ABUSE