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Children Exposed to Violence & the Defending Childhood Initiative

Flannery Brief CoverRelease date: 9-27-2011
Faculty Associate research highlighted: Daniel Flannery, PhD

Children and adolescents who are chronically exposed to violence are at increased risk for psychological distress, with associated symptoms ranging from depression, anger, and anxiety, to poor physical health outcomes, dissociation, post traumatic stress, and thoughts of suicide. Furthermore, there is a clear link between childhood violence exposure and perpetration of violence, with children displaying exposure-related aggression as early as the preschool years. Cuyahoga County is challenged with staggeringly high rates of childhood exposure to violence and associated risk factors. Cuyahoga County is also one of eight sites that received funding through the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Defending Childhood Initiative. The goals of the Defending Childhood Initiative are to prevent exposure to violence, mitigate the negative impacts of exposure when it does occur, and develop knowledge and spread awareness about the issue. Researchers at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention and Education at Case Western Reserve University are part of this collaborative effort, providing ongoing planning, data and evaluation support.

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