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Children can be exposed to violence as direct victims, or as witnesses. This type of stress can impact their health and well-being over time. However, with the right support from key people and other resiliency builders in their lives, many children exposed to trauma can thrive.

The primary types of violence that children are exposed to include (as witnesses and/or direct victims):

Domestic violence

Child abuse (physical, verbal, emotional and neglect)

Sexual abuse

Gang violence

Crime and assault


Teen dating violence

Sexual assault

War/acts of terrorism

To learn more about how exposure to this type of stress and violence can impact brain development, health and other life outcomes, the following resources are available:

National Defending Childhood Campaign

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

The Joyful Heart Foundation

ACEs Too High

Promising Futures

Learn from Dr. Nadine Burke Harris about the impact of childhood trauma on health – and what children need to heal.

All children are at risk for exposure to violence and trauma – it’s not an issue that affects just certain groups of children. However, not all children have equal access to the things they need to recover and thrive. Learn more about what our neighbors in California are doing to promote equitable access to protective factors.