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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Teen Violence

     At least fifteen million children in the United States are exposed to domestic violence each year….Imagine the confusion and fear in the mind of a young child who routinely watches his or her mother being battered by the other parent or another intimate partner. Imagine the long-standing confusion about what intimate relationships mean.

     Beyond the confines of the home, imagine the world through the eyes of a young child who grows up familiar with the sound of gunshots and where the funerals of young people killed in disputes and by stray bullets are common….In one community in Rochester, New York, the homicide rate for young black men fifteen to nineteen is sixty-five times the national homicide rate, while the rest of Rochester has a more typical homicide profile.

     According to a growing body of research…exposure to violence has a direct link to behavioral and emotional problems such as PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder], aggression, phobias, stress-related symptoms, insomnia, low self-esteem, and depression. We believe PTSD is closely linked to truancy and school dropouts. School performance usually drops precipitously when children are exposed to violence. These children are often unable to concentrate; they develop learning disabilities; they have poor problem-solving skills; they have low self-esteem; and they have difficulty forming attachments to others.

Kamala D. Harris, Smart on Crime, 2009

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