The Children and Youth Exposed to Violence Program creates a unique opportunity for communities to increase the resources, services, and advocacy available to children, youth and their nonabusing parent or caretaker, when a child has been exposed to incidences of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking. Collaborative efforts between community-based organizations and governmental agencies serving children and youth, such as domestic violence and sexual assault organizations, child welfare systems, or mental health service providers, can maximize community resources and ensure that children and youth in need of service are identified and referred for the assistance they need. Furthermore, collaborative efforts should support the ability of the nonabusing parents or caretakers to support the development of their children. In efforts to mitigate the effects of children’s exposure to violence, communities need to work together to ensure needed services, programs and environments are available which allow children to process these adverse experiences and learn non-violent behaviors and healthy relationship interactions.

Studies suggest that sixty percent of American children have been exposed to violence, crime, or abuse in their homes, schools, and communities.1 The exposure to violence can be dangerous, confusing, and detrimental to a child’s health, well being, and development. The consequences of these experiences may negatively impact children well into their adulthood. While there is still more to learn about the variances of effects, resiliency, and children’s ability to cope with these stressful experiences, we do understand that children and youth who are exposed to violence are at greater risk for psychological, behavioral, or physical health problems. Programs and services provided through the Children and Youth Exposed to Violence Program should reflect a clear understanding of how children exposed to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are effected and the importance of supporting the nonabusing parents or caretakers in their parenting role.

FY 2011 Grants to Assist Children and Youth Exposed to Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Program: http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/docs/cev-solicitation-fy2011.pdf