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Healing the Invisible Wounds: Children's Exposure to Violence - A Guide for Families

NCJ Number
Date Published
This booklet provides practical guidance for families in recognizing the adverse effects on children and youth of their exposure to violence and in providing appropriate assistance in addressing these effects.
The booklet notes that the signs of a child's exposure to violence are as varied as children's personalities; whereas some children hide their problems well, others act out problem behaviors when they have troubling feelings. Reactions will depend on the nature of the violent events; the victim's age; the victim's personal thoughts or feelings about what happened and may happen next; as well as their proximity to the violence; the length of the exposure; and their relations with the victim and perpetrator. Some observable symptoms of exposure to violence include trouble with schoolwork; having trouble making friends; smoking; using drugs; and having stomachaches, headaches, or other physical ailments. Practical responses to a child exposed to violence include ensuring his/her immediate safety, even to the extent of calling 911; asking for help from a teacher, pastor, pediatrician, or other professional; and taking other steps to stop the violence in the child's life. The specific steps taken will depend on the child's age. Distinctive guidance for helping children exposed to violence is provided for a child up to age 6, school aged children (7-11), and teenagers (ages 12-18). A listing of 13 publications categorized by the victim's age, as well as publications for caregivers and a listing of 19 relevant Web sites
Date Created: October 14, 2014