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Children Exposed to Violence: Tips for Agencies and Staff Working with Youth

NCJ Number
Date Published
3 pages
After reviewing some of the warning signs that children or youth have been exposed to violence, this paper provides guidance for youth workers in providing the care and services such victims need.
Exposure to violence at home in the form of child abuse and neglect or in the community or school can have profound adverse effects. These effects can be warning signs of such victimization, which signal the need for appropriate care and treatment. Among the warning signs are physical complaints, worry about danger, depression symptoms, outbursts of anger, the use of violence to achieve their way, and refusal to follow rules. Those who work with youth, including social workers, teachers, coaches, therapists, and shelter staff can play a significant role in reducing the impact violence can have on youth. Five recommendations for action are presented and briefly discussed. First, establish protocols to screen regularly for symptoms of exposure to violence and mental health needs. Second, refer youth for comprehensive mental health assessment. Third, plan individualized interventions that take into consideration traumatic experiences. Fourth, avoid staff burnout. Fifth, help youth to feel safe and in control. Advice is also provided on when professional help is needed. Symptoms that indicate the need for professional help include involvement in violent dating relationships as either perpetrator or victim, using alcohol or other drugs, truancy and dropping out of school, suicidal ideation, or law violations. Guidance is also provided on mandated professionals' reporting of knowledge or suspicion that youth have experienced violence. 3 resource listings

Date Published: January 1, 2011