The challenge of children’s exposure to violence and ensuing psychological trauma is not one that government alone can solve. The problem requires a truly national response that draws on the strengths of all Americans. Our children’s futures are at stake. Every child we are able to help recover from the impact of violence is an investment in our nation’s future. Therefore, this report calls for a collective investment nationwide in defending our children from exposure to violence and psychological trauma, in healing families and communities, and in enabling all of our children to imagine and claim their safe and creative development and their productive futures. The time for action is now. Together, we must take this next step and build a nation whose communities are dedicated to ending children’s exposure to violence and psychological trauma. To that end, the task force offers the following recommendations.
The findings and recommendations of the task force are organized into six chapters. The first chapter provides an overview of the problem and sets forth 10 foundational recommendations. The next two chapters offer a series of recommendations to ensure that we reliably identify, screen, and assess all children exposed to violence and thereafter give them support, treatment, and other services designed to address their needs. In the fourth and fifth chapters, the task force focuses on prevention and emphasizes the importance of effectively integrating prevention, intervention, and resilience across systems by nurturing children through warm, supportive, loving, and nonviolent relationships in our homes and communities. In the sixth and final chapter of this report, the task force calls for a new approach to juvenile justice, one that acknowledges that the vast majority of the children involved in that system have been exposed to violence, necessitating the prioritization of services that promote their healing.
National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence
U.S. Attorney General, December 12, 2012