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Children Exposed to Violence: Tips for Staff and Advocates Working With Children: Polyvictimization

NCJ Number
Date Published
4 pages
This paper first identifies children and youth who have experienced multiple types of violence (polyvictimization) as being at greater risk for developing severe adverse symptoms, followed by a listing of warning signs of polyvictimization for various age groups, a discussion of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and six recommendations for addressing violent polyvictimization.
Children and youth who experience various types of polyvictimization - such as physical, sexual, and emotional abuse - are more distressed by their polyvictimization than those who experience frequent victimization of a single type. Warning signs that such distress is occurring are listed for the following age groups: children 5 years old and younger, children 6-12 years old, and teens 13-18 years old. Three types of PTSD symptoms are then explained, i.e., intrusive memories, avoidance and numbing, and increased anxiety or emotional arousal (hyperarousal). Six recommendations are then proposed for those who regularly or professionally interact with polyvictimized children and youth exposed to violence. First. expand assessment beyond the "presenting" problem. Second, emphasize prevention and early intervention. Third, provide comprehensive services. Fourth, develop community-based partnerships. Fifth, expand the services of child welfare. Sixth, intervene to break the cycle of violent polyvictimization. 1 resource listing

Date Published: January 1, 2011