Effects of Violence
Child abuse, domestic and community violence, and violent media in the first five years of life is psychological and emotional poison and can set the trajectory for life long mental and emotional problems. This publication consists of 4 (8 1/2” X 11”) pages of information which addresses the signs and symptoms of exposure to violence and offers suggestions on how to help a support a child who has experienced violent trauma.
For many children childhood is not the idyllic, carefree time that we often envision. Child abuse, domestic and community violence, and violent media are a part of daily life. Witnessing violence or being the victim of violence at any age undermines healthy growth and development. Exposure to violence in the first five years of life has life long implications. Violence in early childhood has been linked to a host of mental illnesses and physical conditions that may not even manifest until adulthood (Fellitti 2003).
Violence not only traumatizes children but actually changes the structure of the brain. When faced with emotional or physical threat, the brain responds by creating a neurochemical cocktail of stress hormones and neurotransmitters that cause the body to divert energy and resources to deal with the threat at hand. The child will do one of three things: fight, flee, or freeze.