Types of Violence and Prevalence

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Types of Violence and Prevalence

​Exposure to violence is when a child is the victim of, or witnesses, violence at home, school or in the community. Regardless of socioeconomic status, children and youth in any kind of community can be affected by violence. For those leading medical homes, it is important to be aware of all the types of violence that can cause adverse reactions in children and youth. Violence can include:
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    ​Bullying refers to repeated victimization (physical or emotional) of a person by another person or group.  Bullying can take many forms. It can be a shove, a kick or a punch. It can be a threat that leads to intimidation and it can be the spreading of rumors that result in the social exclusion of another student.

    Child Maltreatment

    ​A legal definition of child abuse and neglect varies from state to state. The federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act provides the following definition:

    Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or an act or failure to act, which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.

    Community Violence

    ​Community violence can be defined as being directly or indirectly exposed to acts of interpersonal violence committed by individuals who are not intimately related to the victim. Some of the acts that fall under the community violence umbrella include sexual assault, burglary, muggings, the sounds of gunshots, as well as social disorder such as the presence of teen gangs, drugs and racial divisions.

    Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence

    ​Physical, sexual, and emotional violence in the home between two adults, usually partners, is considered domestic violence.

    School Violence

    ​School violence (i.e. bullying, intimidating, gang violence, fighting, punching, slapping, kicking) can happen on school property, on the way to or from school, and before, during, or after a school-sponsored event.

    Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence

    ​Sexual abuse involves engaging a child in sexual acts. It includes fondling, rape, and exposing a child to other sexual activities, such as voyeurism, and child pornography.

    Sex Trafficking

    ​Also called domestic minor sex trafficking or commercial sex trafficking, child sex trafficking includes youth being forced into prostitution, pornography and other forms of sexual exploitation. Through physical, verbal and sexual abuse, the child is forced to perform sexual acts to receive food and shelter, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

    Teen Dating Violence

    ​Teen dating violence is about controlling another person within the boundaries of a relationship. Dating violence is a type of intimate partner violence. It occurs between two people in a close relationship. The nature of dating violence can be physical, emotional, sexual as well as stalking


    ​Millions of children and adolescents – over 60% of that populations - are exposed to or victimized by violence each year.1 Among the children and adolescents surveyed in the 2008 National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence (n=4,549), the following occurred over the previous year1: 

    • 46% were assaulted at least once
    • 25% were victims of robbery, vandalism, or theft
    • 10% suffered from child maltreatment
    • 6% were victimized sexually
    • 25% witnessed a violent act
    • 10% saw one family member assault another


In 2007, homicide was the second leading cause of death among persons ages 10–24 years, accounting for 5,764 deaths. Suicide was the third leading cause, accounting for 4,320 deaths.2

"Polyvictimization” refers to the most highly victimized children who experience violence by numerous perpetrators in numerous settings. Polyvictimization, which applies to over a third (39%) of those affected by violence, is particularly devastating and a strong indicator for additional victimization in the future.1 These issues are obviously painful for the individuals, families, and communities directly involved. Society overall, is also greatly impacted. The average cost (medical and work loss) per violent death is approximately $1.3 million.4 loss) per violent death is approximately $1.3 million.

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