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Children Exposed to Violence

Special Feature


Research suggests that witnessing violence can have detrimental effects similar to being a direct victim of violence.

Children’s exposure to violence and trauma can seriously harm their brain development and lead to several long-term negative consequences. New and evolving brain science reveals that a child’s positive and negative experiences can literally shape, and reshape, the brain.

According to the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV II), which was conducted in 2011 as a follow up to the original NatSCEV I survey conducted in 2008, approximately 57.7 percent of children were exposed to at least one of the following forms of violence in the past year: physical assault, sexual victimization, maltreatment, property victimization and witnessing violence.

Research has found, though, that individuals can heal from trauma. One of the most significant predictors of a child’s resiliency in the face of trauma is consistent interaction with a caring and supportive adult.

Visit the following pages for additional information and resources produced or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs and other federal sources: