Report of the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence

This report was created as part of the Defending Childhood Initiative created by Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. This initiative strives to harness resources from across the Department of Justice to:

  • Prevent children’s exposure to violence;
  • Mitigate the negative impact of children’s exposure to violence when it does occur; and
  • Develop knowledge and spread awareness about children’s exposure to violence.

Recommendations in the report center around the following topics:

  • Ending the Epidemic of Children Exposed to Violence
  • Identifying Children Exposed to Violence
  • Treatment and Healing of Exposure to Violence
  • Creating Safe and Nurturing Homes
  • Communities Rising Up Out of Violence
  • Rethinking Our Juvenile Justice System

Exposure to violence is a national crisis that affects approximately two out of every three of our children. 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. In 1979, U.S. Surgeon General Julius B. Richmond declared violence a public health crisis of the highest priority, and yet 33 years later that crisis remains. Whether the violence occurs in children’s homes, neighborhoods, schools, playgrounds or playing fields, locker rooms, places of worship, shelters, streets, or in juvenile detention centers, the exposure of children to violence is a uniquely traumatic experience that has the potential to profoundly derail the child’s security, health, happiness, and ability to grow and learn — with effects lasting well into adulthood.

Population of focus: Children and adolescents

Link to resource: Report — Report of the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence (pdf)

Date: 2012

Organization: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention