News & Publications » Global News » Hope for Young Children Exposed to Violence

Hope for Young Children Exposed to Violence

Early childhood journal addresses community violence

A recently released journal publication explores the effects of community violence on young children and finds that, amid the stark effects proximal trauma and prolonged fear have on the psychosocial development of children, there is resounding evidence for recovery and hope. "Community Violence and Young Children: Making Space for Hope" is the focus of Early Childhood Matters, a biannual journal published by the Netherlands-based Bernard van Leer Foundation.

Contributing authors to the journal address the effects of violence on brain development, cognitive function, and self-regulation, and also how prolonged exposure to fear can be linked to mental health problems and physical health problems, such as asthma. The edition also features qualitative accounts from children and their experiences with urban violence in Ciudad Juárez, México, and a parent's experience in Mangueirinha, Brazil.

According to the editor, however, the stories that are most memorable and would potentially have the most impact on policy changes are those stories offering hope that, with proper intervention and support, children are able to recover from post-traumatic stress. Positive outcomes have also resulted from violence prevention strategies implemented in urban areas of Scotland, the United States, South Africa, and Iraq.

For more information:

"Community Violence and Young Children: Making Space for Hope," Early Childhood Matters, November 2012. (Online version)

"Community Violence and Young Children: Making Space for Hope," Early Childhood Matters, November 2012. (Google Download)

Bernard van Leer Foundation