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Children Exposed to Violence: Tips for Pregnancy Prevention Programs

NCJ Number
Date Published
4 pages
Recognizing that youth exposed to violence are more likely to become teen parents, this paper suggests how pregnancy prevention programs can incorporate elements that address this issue.
It is important that teen pregnancy prevention programs be able to recognize the warning signs of exposure to violence among program participants. Eight warning signs that may indicate exposure to violence are outlined for teens 13-18 years old. In order to prevent first or repeated pregnancies, pregnancy prevention programs must screen, recognize, and address a history of exposure to violence. If a professional has any concerns about a youth's exposure to violence, the first step is to ask her how she is doing and then listen to her, followed by sensitive and supportive responses. Depending on confidentiality policies, information can be shared or confirmed with parents, guardians or other important persons in the youth's life. Regarding program design for pregnancy prevention programs, seven strategies are proposed for a pregnancy prevention program that can assist in preventing or reducing the impact of exposure to violence. First, build a program capacity that is trauma-informed. Second, design and implement strategies that keep participants engaged in the program. Third, respond appropriately to youth's disclosures of exposure to violence. Fourth, inform participants of the program's legal requirements for mandatory reporting of violent victimization. Fifth, train staff members to cope with this aspect of their work. Sixth, build collaborative relationships with trauma-informed community agencies. Seventh, facilitate access to evidence-based treatment programs for teens exposed to violence.