A 2009 DOJ study showed that more than 60 percent of the children
surveyed were exposed to violence within the past year either directly
or indirectly. Children’s exposure to violence, whether
as victims or witnesses, is often associated with long-term physical,
psychological, and emotional harm. Children exposed to violence are
also at a higher risk of engaging in criminal behavior later in life
and becoming part of a cycle of violence.
Children exposed to violence are more likely to abuse
drugs and alcohol; suffer from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic
disorders; fail or have difficulty in school; and become delinquent
and engage in criminal behavior.
Sixty percent of American children were exposed to violence,
crime, or abuse in their homes, schools, and communities.
Almost 40 percent of American children were direct victims
of two or more violent acts, and one in ten were victims
of violence five or more times.
Children are more likely to be exposed to violence and
crime than adults.
Almost one in ten American children saw one family member
assault another family member, and more than 25 percent had
been exposed to family violence during their life.
A child’s exposure to one type of violence increases
the likelihood that the child will be exposed to other types
of violence and exposed multiple times.
*Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., Ormrod, R., Hamby, S., and Kracke,
K. 2009. Children’s Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive
National Survey. Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice
and Delinquency Prevention.