DOJ Announces Report Findings
Of the 76 million children currently residing in the U.S, an estimated 46 million can expect to have their lives touched by violence, crime, abuse, and psychological trauma this year. In response to starting statistics like this one, Attorney General Eric Holder’s Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence compiled an extensive report that addresses this national crisis. Task Force Co-Chairs Joe Torre (Safe At Home Foundation) and Robert Listenbee, Jr. (Defender Association of Philadelphia) presented the group’s findings and policy recommendations to Holder at a meeting this morning in Washington, D.C.
The report is a vital component of Holder’s Defending Childhood Initiative (DCI), a national program that has awarded grants to eight cities, counties, and tribal communities around the country to develop strategic plans for community-based efforts that will address and prevent childhood exposure to violence. Since 2010, Futures has proudly served as the lead technical provider for DCI, working to help implement programs in sites that range from the city of Boston to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota.
Among the Task Force conclusions is that the challenge of children’s exposure to violence and ensuing psychological trauma is not one that government alone can solve. The crisis requires a truly national response that draws on the strengths of all Americans. One of their 56 recommendations is an increased focus on programs that help children develop healthy relationships with trusted adults in their homes and communities. The report also emphasized the need for early screenings that can determine if children have been exposed to sexual abuse, physical abuse, or intimate partner violence in the home—all of which place them at higher risk for serious and chronic health problems in later life, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, substance abuse and more.
Looking ahead, the Task Force recommends that steps be taken nationally, regionally, and locally to help every teacher, health care professional, police officer, judge, attorney, social worker, clergy member, therapist, advocate, and paraprofessional who serves children and their families to effectively protect and heal children exposed to violence.
To view the full Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence report, visit: http://www.justice.gov/defendingchildhood/cev-rpt-full.pdf. To learn more about Future’s work on the Defending Childhood Initiative, click here.