Peoria program helps children, families cope with violence
Exposure to community violence is an ongoing problem, especially with children, and there are a variety of agencies and individuals working tirelessly to combat it. Defining violence exposure overall and community violence can be an overwhelming task as both have very broad meanings. Community violence usually involves interpersonal violence i.e. gang related problems, assault, incidents involving weapons, etc; and exposure to violence encompasses abuse, neglect or child maltreatment, domestic violence, and community violence. This article describes the Heart of Illinois Safe from the Start Program (HOI), which, for the past ten years, has been working to help kids deal with the violence in their surroundings.
HOI finds that many of their referrals come from situations that involve mostly domestic violence and not community violence, which they find surprising, due to the level of community violence exposure in their communities. The article points out that the prevailing problem is more that there is still very little understanding about how community violence hurts children and what the long-term effects of exposure are on their behavior, now and in the future.
The 2010 Illinois State Health Improvement Plan, is also noted, which tasks the State with improving and reducing violence, and this improvement plan should extend to a better understanding of how community violence affects all aspects of the community, i.e., at home or school. It’s important for officials and the overall community to understand the impact so that they can help increase prevention and awareness of the problem. If there is increased awareness about the connection between exposure to violence and issues like delinquency rates and problematic behavior, it could be another step in combating the after effects of the violence and can help stop the cycle from continuing.
Safe Start Center Trauma-Informed Care Tipsheets
Chicago Safe Start
Community and School Violence Reading List
Filed under: Community Violence, Domestic Violence, Exposure to Violence, Prevention, Public Awareness | Tagged: awareness, children, community violence, early childhood, outcomes, prevention, public awareness, public health, Safe Start, trauma-informed, Violence, Violence Prevention |