Whether at home, in school, in your neighborhood or even across the nation, community violence can cause trauma for children. Research from the U.S. Department of Justice shows that up to 60% of children in the U.S. have been exposed to community violence and almost 40% of American children were direct victims of two or more violent acts. But parents need to understand that community violence can cause harmful stress to children who have not witnessed it, but simply hear about it from schoolmates, adults or the media. The fact is that if you’ve heard about a violent incident in your community, then your child probably has, too, no matter what his or her age. Children equate community violence with danger, making them feel insecure, frightened and out of control.
Community Violence PSA
WHERE CAN I TURN FOR SUPPORT?
Children traumatized by community violence may experience a wide range of negative, long-term outcomes:
- Psychological problems, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, fear, guilt, isolation, shame, low self esteem or difficulties forming and maintaining relationships as an adult.
- Physical problems, including eating disorders, sleep problems, poorer physical health, illnesses and self-injury.
- Academic problems, including declines in academic performance and are more apt to dropout of high school.
- Behavioral problems, including substance and alcohol abuse, bullying, physical fighting, teen pregnancy, aggression and violent behaviors.