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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 169095 Find in a Library
Title: What Children Can Tell Us About Living in a War Zone (From Children in a Violent Society, P 32-41, 1997, Joy D. Osofsky, ed. -- See NCJ-169092)
Author(s): J Garbarino; K Kostelny
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Guilford Publications, Inc.
New York, NY 10012
Sale Source: Guilford Publications, Inc.
Marketing Manager
72 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Many children living in America in a time of "peace" are exposed to community conditions characteristic of a "war zone," with commensurate psychological impacts; steps must be taken to intervene and change such exposure to violence and its devastating consequences.
Abstract: Some 30 percent of the children living in high-crime neighborhoods of cities such as Chicago have witnessed a homicide by the time they are 15 years old, and more than 70 percent have witnessed a serious assault. These conditions are much more like the experience of children in countries torn by war than they are of a Nation living in "peace." The spread of the "gun culture" is part of children's "war zone" experience. The experience of community violence occurs within a larger context of risk for most children. They often are poor, live in father-absent families, contend with parental incapacity due to depression or substance abuse, are raised by caretakers with little education or employment prospects, and are exposed to domestic violence. In coping with the traumatic events of a "war zone" the child is forced into patterns of behavior, thought, and feelings that are themselves "abnormal" when contrasted with that of the untraumatized, healthy child. Children are particularly vulnerable to the trauma caused by threat and fear. Adults are crucial resources for children who are attempting to cope with chronic danger and stress. When adults begin to deteriorate, to decompensate, and to panic, children suffer. Efforts to help children exposed to a "war zone" should include programmatic efforts to alter the "legitimization of aggression" among children and youth, responses to trauma in early childhood, and the mobilization of prosocial adult and youth members of the community to become involved in changing community conditions. 20 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Psychological victimization effects; Social conditions; Violence causes; Violence prevention
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