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Community Violence Exposure and Family Health

  • By: Elizabeth Miller
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Community violence exposure is a public health problem with devastating consequences for children and their families. Community violence encompasses violence experienced and witnessed by children, youths, and their families in their community, as distinguished from family and partner violence (i.e., violence occurring within the family, such as child physical and sexual abuse, adolescent relationship abuse, and domestic violence). Community violence includes use of weapons, school fighting, muggings, witnessing and hearing guns used, sexual assault, burglary, muggings, and gang activity. For recent immigrants fleeing political violence, this violence exposure also includes witnessing military gun fighting, explosions, rape, and torture.

Despite trends toward decreases in violence victimization, the United States continues to have the highest prevalence of community violence among developed countries, with a homicide rate of 6 ...

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