Blog: violence

Study Finds Early Intervention Crucial In Preventing Future Delinquent Behavior

A new study from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence[PDF] (NatSCEV) underscores the importance for early intervention of childhood exposure to violence to prevent these children from future delinquency (also referred to in other studies as “bullying”). This study offers a new look at the relationship between victimization and delinquency for children 10 to 17 years-old and through four different categories:

  • Primarily delinquent behavior and not victims
  • Primarily victims and no delinquent behavior
  • Both delinquent behavior and victims
  • Neither victims nor delinquent behavior

Delinquency includes violent behavior, drug and alcohol use, and actions that involve property destruction, such as stealing or breaking property. Research has found that boys and girls experience and react to violence differently, and this study is no exception. Boys in the delinquent behavior and victim group experienced much more victimization in the past year than boys in the primarily victim group. In addition, these boys also had more delinquent behavior than the primarily delinquent behavior group.
Girls had different patterns in their behavior. Most girls were neither victims nor acted out with delinquency (as opposed to boys, who mostly engaged in delinquent behavior), and the second biggest group of girls were primarily victims. This information reflects that girls tend to engage in less delinquency than boys. However, like boys, the girls that were victims and engaged in delinquent behavior had greater levels of victimization and delinquency than girls that were either primarily victims or acted out with delinquency. These boys and girls that behaved with delinquency and were victims often experience more mental health symptoms and life adversities and receive less social support than other groups.

Task Force Recommendations to End Children's Exposure to Violence

In December 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder's National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence released a report with recommendations to combat the growing epidemic of kids exposed to violence. Given recent events and the public discourse over violence, now is an especially poignant time to revisit this report and its recommendations.

"Exposure to violence is a national crisis that affects approximately two out of every three of our children," states the report. "Of the 76 million children currently residing in the United States, an estimated 46 million can expect to have their lives touched by violence, crime, abuse, and psychological trauma this year."

From a Violent Childhood to the MLB: Joe Torre on Need to Reduce Children's Exposure to Violence

Baseball fans know Joe Torre as a former MLB catcher and MLB manager. But they may know not that he was exposed to violence as a child, an experience that played a major role in shaping his life. He recently wrote an op-ed in the Miami Herald, explaining why preventing children's exposure to violence is so important to him.
He writes:

I was the youngest of five kids who grew up in an abusive home. My father, a New York City police officer, physically abused my mother and emotionally abused us all. My older siblings protected me from the violence, but they couldn’t shield me from the fear. Baseball became my shelter — the place to which I escaped to feel safe.
I didn’t know until decades later how much the way I felt about myself had been shaped by that fear. More than just fear, though, I felt shame, as well. As a kid, I was embarrassed by the belief that my house was the only one where things like this were happening. I worried that I had done something to cause the problem, and felt ashamed that I couldn’t stop it. As an adult, it took counseling for me to see myself as the innocent child I really had been, and to understand how deeply the violence I had witnessed affected me.

Because of these traumatic experiences, Joe and his wife founded the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, which provides education and safe rooms in middle schools for kids caught in an abusive environment. Joe also serves as co-chair of Attorney General Eric Holder's National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, which is part of the DOJ's Defending Childhood Initiative.

Interested in Participating in the Defending Childhood Task Force Public Hearing in Miami?

Calling all community members and professionals working with children and families who have experienced violence:
The Attorney General's National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence is holding its third public hearing in Miami on March 19 - 21, 2012. The hearing will focus on children's exposure to violence in their communities and at school. The Taskforce is interested in hearing from community members and professionals who work with children and families who have experienced violence. They would also like to hear from individuals directly impacted by violence. Members of the public are invited to attend and testify. Those outside of Miami are invited to submit testimoy now through April 24, 2012.
To register for the hearing or to provide oral testimony, click here.
To submit written testimony, click here.

Attorney General Holder's new blog post: Our continuing efforts to prevent youth violence

Attorney general Eric Holder has published a new blog post about youth violence prevention, highlighting the efforts of cities participating in the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.
Here's an excerpt:

Throughout my career, I have seen the devastating effects of youth violence far too often. As a prosecutor and a judge; as a U.S. Attorney, as Deputy Attorney General – and, above all, as the father of three teenage children – I’ve been determined to make the progress that our nation’s young people deserve.
In September of 2009, this country was shocked by a video depicting the brutal beating and murder of a 16-year-old Chicago honor student. That savage attack was seared into our collective memory, and it left an indelible mark on the community where it took place. But, tragically, it is just one horrifying example of the violence that many young people face every day, in cities and towns across this country.
In response to this crisis, last year, President Obama directed the Departments of Justice and Education to partner with other federal agencies – and with representatives from six cities – to launch the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, a network of committed stakeholders dedicated to stopping the brutality and bloodshed that devastates too many of the youngest members of our society. The six cities participating in the Forum — Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Salinas, Calif. and San Jose, Calif. — have made great strides toward developing and implementing comprehensive crime prevention strategies tailored to eradicating the violence that has ravaged their communities and stolen so many promising futures.

New juvenile victimization questionnaire released

The Crimes Against Children Research Center has released its Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire.
A supplemental tool to the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV), the questionnaire attempts to document the full range of victimization that youth experience, including conventional crime, maltreatment, peer and sibling victimization, sexual victimization, witnessing, and other exposure to violence. Moreover, it aims to help practitioners determine youth’s needs, assess whether victimization programs are effective, raise awareness on youth victimization, and improve victimization research.
NatSCEV is the largest, most comprehensive survey on youth victimization conducted in the United States.
Multiple versions of the JVQ-R2 questionnaire is free and available online here.
Click here to view and download other publications from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence series.