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Supporting Families Impacted by Violence

A collection of text, video, and more to help families cope and understand different types of violence that may have impacted them.

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Rachel Bricker, Kate Dye, Lily Pedrotti, Melissa Stroebel

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Cycle of Violence

  • Children exposed to violence may be more likely to resolve their own conflicts using extreme and unnecessary violence

  • Others may be completely desensitized to violence and any distress emotions, making them have inappropriate reactions to sad or upsetting news, avoiding everyone and the world altogether 

    • Behavioral, psychological, and physical problems

    • Academic failure

    • Alcohol and substance use

    • Delinquent acts

    • Adult criminality


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Using Art Therapy to Process

"Concretizing internalized feelings through art production can become a starting point for discussion and provide a visual record for further discussion. It is important for adults to empathetically respond to the child’s anxieties as evident in their narratives and images. Creating a safe and contained space (both visually and dynamically) will usher more authentic expression"

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More Effects of Exposure to Violence on Children

Children in homes where a parent is abused may feel fearful and anxious.

Short term effects:

   - Guilt

   - Behavior regression

   - Separation anxiety

   - Risky behaviors

   - Lowered self esteem

Long term effects:

   - Increased risk of physical health problems

   - Mental health problems

   - Cyclical abuse

Children respond differently to abuse and violence. Potential resilience or recovery depends on: 

   - Good relationships with trusted adults (this can include teachers or other school staff)

   - High self esteem

   - Healthy friendships

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What can you do to help?

The following videos will help you to understand how violence can affect children, and how to help children to cope with those effects:

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Childhood Exposure to Violence. (February 11, 2021).

Effects of Domestic Violence on Children. (n.d.). Office on Women's Health.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. (N. D.)

Tomioka, A. (April 18, 2017). Effects of Media Violence on Children. Youtube

WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore (July 8, 2016), "How To Help Children Cope with Violence." Youtube.

Wisdom2Action (February 18, 2014), "Coping with Violence: Promising Practices for Child and Youth Mental Health [CYCC Network]." Youtube.

WOA L'heure du conte (May 22, 2020). "What if Domestic violence & What You Should Do | Tips for Parents | Cartoon Animated Info." Youtube.

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