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Late April 2011: Prevalence of Exposure to Violence during Childhood

In 2009, researchers found that more than 60 percent of youth age 17 and younger have been exposed to crime, violence, and abuse either directly or indirectly including witnessing a violent act, assault with a weapon, sexual victimization, child maltreatment, and dating violence. Nearly 10 percent were injured during the exposure to violence, 10 percent were exposed to maltreatment by caretaker, and 6 percent were a victim of sexual assault.1

With help from families, providers, and the community, young children can demonstrate resilience when dealing with trauma.

Research has shown that caregivers can buffer the impact of trauma and promote better outcomes for children even under stressful times when the following Strengthening Families Protective Factors2 are present:

  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development
  • Concrete support in times of need
  • Social and emotional competence of children

Trauma Data Source:

  1. Finkelhor, D., Hamby, S.L., Kracke, K., Ormrod, R.K., & Turner, H.A. (2009). Children’s Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Study. Juvenile Justice Bulletin.
  2. Horton, C. (2003). Protective factors literature review. Early care and education programs and the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Center for the Study of Social Policy.

Use these sample messages to share this early childhood trauma and resilience data point with your connections on Twitter and Facebook and via email.

Twitter: More than 60% of youth 17 yrs & younger have witnessed violence. 10% injured due to it. Read: http://1.usa.gov/fAInvl via @samhsagov #1in5

Facebook: More than 60 percent of youth age 17 and younger have been exposed to violence to crime, violence, and abuse either directly or indirectly, such as witnessing a violent act, assault with a weapon, or sexual victimization, among others. Learn more about exposure to violence during childhood and observe National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day: http://1.usa.gov/fAInvl


If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs to talk, please call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

Return to main page of SAMHSA.gov/Children | For more information, click here to email AwarenessDay2014@vancomm.com