Safe Start Center Publications
Most Safe Start Center publications can be viewed online, downloaded in .pdf format, or ordered from the Safe Start Center.
Toolkit: CEV Prevention and Awareness Week
According to the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV), 60 percent of American children are exposed to violence, crime or abuse in their homes, schools and communities. Be it bullying, domestic violence, or child abuse, exposure to violence – particularly multiple exposures - can interfere with a child's physical, emotional, and intellectual development.
Toolkit: Court-Involved Youth and Exposure to Violence
Research shows that most youth entering the juvenile justice system are estimated to have been exposed to violence and other traumatic events, oftentimes having experienced multiple types of victimizations. Youth in the juvenile justice system already face significant challenges related to their incarceration and justice involvement, including separation from their families, communities, education and other positive social networks. Having a trauma-informed justice system is critical to promoting the well-being of the child, their families and the community. Developed in partnership with the American Bar Association (ABA) Center on Children and the Law, Child and Family Policy Associates and the Chadwick Center for Children and Families, this collection of resources offers practice tips for juvenile defenders, children's attorneys and GALs, judges, and CASAs and provides guidance on policy reforms and other considerations for trauma-informed advocacy in the courts.
Toolkit: Children Exposed to Violence in the Schools
As the National Survey for Children Exposed to Violence has shown, children's exposure to home and community violence is prevalent in the U.S. Exposure to traumatic events is often unexpected and can leave educators with many uncertainties about what to do next. Faced with students struggling to cope and a community struggling to respond, schools need reliable information, practical tools, and pragmatic guidance. Safe Start Center's Toolkit for Schools is a collection of resources for school administrators and teachers to learn more about the prevalence and negative consequences of children's exposure to violence and how they can help.
Toolkit: Children Exposed to Domestic Violence
15.5 million children in the U.S. live in families in which violence between partners occurred at least once in the past year. Exposure to traumatic events can leave everyone with many uncertainties about how to keep all members of the family safe and what to do next. We all need reliable information, practical tools, and pragmatic guidance to help families prevent violence and reduce the negative impacts of exposure to domestic violence. The Safe Start Center's Toolkit for Family Advocates is a collection of resources for parents, extended family members, and other professionals interacting with vulnerable families who wish to learn more about the prevalence and negative consequences of children's exposure to domestic violence and learn ways to be helpful.
Each child and situation is different, but exposure to violence can overwhelm children at any age and lead to problems in their daily lives. Some children may have an emotional or physical reaction. Others may find it harder to recover from a frightening experience. Exposure to violence—especially when it is ongoing and intense—can harm children's natural, healthy development unless they receive support to help them cope and heal. The Safe Start Center Trauma Informed Care Tip Sheet Series is designed to expand the knowledge of children's exposure to violence in different areas and populations and ways to help.
- Tips for Pregnancy Prevention Programs
- Tips for Parent Education Programs
- Tips for Parents and Other Caregivers
- Tips for Child Welfare Staff
- Tips for Early Childhood Providers
- Tips for Engaging Men and Fathers
- Tips for Domestic Violence and Homeless Shelters
- Tips for Teachers
- Tips for Agencies and Staff Working with Youth
- Tips for Agencies Working With Immigrant Families
- Tips for Staff and Advocates Working with Children Who are Polyvictims
National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence Series
Conducted in 2008 by researchers at the University of New Hampshire Crimes Against Children Research Center, the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV) is the most comprehensive nationwide survey of the incidence and prevalence of children's exposure to violence to date, sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study measured the past-year and lifetime exposure to violence for children age 17 and younger across several major categories: conventional crime, child maltreatment, victimization by peers and siblings, sexual victimization, witnessing and indirect victimization (including exposure to community violence and family violence), school violence and threats, and Internet victimization. There are 5 Bulletins in the series, each examining a different aspect of the study's findings.
- Children's Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey, 2009
- Polyvictimization: Children's Exposure to Multiple Types of Violence, Crime, and Abuse, 2011
- Questions and Answers About the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence, 2011
- Children's Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence and Other Family Violence, 2011
- Child and Youth Victimization Know to Police, School, and Medical Authorities, 2012
Healing the Invisible Wounds: Children's Exposure to Violence - A Guide for Families
Do you suspect a child you know has witnessed or experienced violence? Maybe you think a child you know has witnessed or been hurt by violence. Or maybe you think something's wrong with the child, but you don't know what. It can be hard to tell what's wrong. There may not be clear physical signs such as bruises and cuts. Children often suffer from "invisible wounds" that affect them emotionally and psychologically.
View PDF (Hi-Res)
View PDF (Low-Res)
Healing the Invisible Wounds: Children's Exposure to Violence - Quick Reference Card
This quick reference card is designed to accompany the Guide for Families. It provides an overview of common signs and symptoms of exposure to violence at different stages of children's development, as well as strategies for parents or caregivers to help children heal. Side two of the card provides a list of hot lines and information resources for parents and caregivers.
Impact of Exposure to Violence on Stages of Development (Birth to Adolescence)
Development is the continuous and cumulative process of maturation and learning that occurs through life stages. Children's experience with violence has been linked to a variety of negative outcomes affecting the mastery of several developmental tasks, particularly the tasks of attachment, school engagement and academic success, future partnering and parenting.
This chhis chart describes developmental tasks by age, how exposure to violence impacts a child's ability to meet different tasks and recommendations to help children overcome that negative impact.
Identifying Polyvictimization and Trauma Among Court-Involved Children and Youth:
A Checklist and Resource Guide for Attorneys and Other Court-Appointed Advocates
The National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence found that 60 percent of children surveyed had been exposed to violence. Researchers have labeled children who have experienced seven or more types of victimization as "polyvictims", and have suggested that "victimization exposure across so many domains may be what leaves these children so particularly distressed. For many of these children, this exposure can have both short and long-term effects.
This checklist, developed in partnership with the American Bar Association (ABA) Center on Children and the Law, and Child & Family Policy Associates, provides juvenile defenders, children's attorneys, GAL attorneys, CASAs and other advocates the tools to identify both the types of violence exposure that a child has experienced, and past and current symptoms that a child is exhibiting related to victimization. The checklist also includes a resource guide with links to free materials on numerous topics related to polyvictimization and trauma-informed advocacy.
Moving From Evidence to Action: Safe Start Center Series on Children Exposed to Violence
Issue Brief #1: Understanding Children's Exposure to Violence
This issue brief assists practitioners in understanding the impact of exposure to violence in the development of children as well as the environmental and family factors that may provide a buffer and prevent or reduce the impact of exposure to violence. It also describes key elements that help managers and practitioners design and implement comprehensive programs that enhance resilience, decrease risks, and provide specialized treatments to children exposed to violence and their families.
Issue Brief #2: Pediatric Care Settings
Pediatric care settings are perhaps the only places where children are seen at multiple points during their childhood and adolescence. These settings provide an excellent opportunity to screen families for health and social risks (including exposure to violence), educate parents, and refer children and families to services to prevent or treat emotional or behavioral problems that may result from exposure to violence.
Issue Brief #3: Schools
Schools play a critical role in helping prevent and reduce the impact of exposure to violence on children. This issue brief offers teachers, principals, counselors, and other school personnel tips on ways to identify and talk to students and parents who have been exposed to violence. It describes evidence-based practices that school staff members can use to accommodate and respond to students and support their academic achievement.
Issue Brief #4: Child Welfare Systems
Issue Brief #5: Domestic Violence Agencies and Shelters
This issue brief was developed in partnership with Futures Without Violence and the Vermont Network Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. It presents data on prevalence and impact of victimization and exposure to violence for children in domestic violence shelters and agencies, and offers trauma-informed practice tips for families, advocates and practitioners. It also describes promising local and state initiatives to address exposure to violence and provides guidance on policy reforms.
Issue Brief #6: Homeless Shelters, Permanent/Supportive Housing, and Transitional Housing
Children who are homeless are much more likely than other children to be exposed to community violence, domestic violence, and child abuse. This issue brief offers homelessness services providers trauma-focused interventions that can be used to build the resilience and ensure the well-being of children and families exposed to violence.
Issue Brief #7: Victimization and Trauma Experienced by Children and Youth: Implications for Legal Advocates
This issue brief was developed in partnership with the American Bar Association (ABA) Center on Children and the Law and Child and Family Policy Associates. It presents data on prevalence and impact of victimization and exposure to violence for children in the courts, and offers practice tips for juvenile defenders, children's attorneys and GALs, judges, and CASAs. It also describes promising local and state initiatives to address exposure to violence and provides guidance on policy reforms and other considerations for trauma-informed advocacy in the courts.
Realizing the Promise of Home Visitation: Addressing Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment
This issue brief will help policy makers and advocates build a strong national policy framework to maximize the effectiveness and reach of early childhood home visiting programs. More specifically, it is intended to ensure that federal home visiting policies directly address: the needs of mothers and children who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing domestic violence, the link between domestic violence and child abuse and neglect, and the impact of domestic violence on the health and well-being of children and families.
Safe Start Fact Sheet
The Safe Start Center is a national resource center designed to support the Safe Start Initiative on a national level. The goals of the Center are to broaden the scope of knowledge and resources on hand for responding to the needs of children exposed to violence and their families, to provide and disseminate information about the Safe Start Initiative and emerging practices and research concerning children exposed to violence, and to raise national awareness about issues concerning children exposed to violence.
Communities Working Together To Help Children Exposed to Violence: Findings From Phase I of the Safe Start Initiative
The Safe Start Initiative is a collaboration funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) involving national, State, and local public and private agencies working together to prevent and reduce the consequences of childhood exposure to violence. The initiative is being implemented in four phases; each phase builds and disseminates knowledge about policy and practice innovations for addressing the needs of children exposed to violence. Communities Working Together to Help Children Exposed to Violence: Findings From Phase I of the Safe Start Initiative presents the findings of the first phase of the initiative: eleven demonstration sites around the country developed and tested strategies to reduce the impact of exposure to violence on children and their families.
Safe Start: Promising Approaches Communities: Working Together to Help Children Exposed to Violence
In 2005, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) initiated phase 2 of the Safe Start initiative, funding fifteen Safe Start Promising Approaches sites around the country to develop and test evidence-based, interdisciplinary approaches to preventing and reducing the impact of exposure to violence on children and their families. This booklet describes the interventions piloted for this population by the fifteen Safe Start Promising Approaches sites and provides a snapshot of a family's experience as it progresses through the different Safe Start programs.
Safe Start Promising Approaches Communities: Improving Outcomes for Children Exposed to Violence
A second cohort of 10 Safe Start Promising Approaches sites are receiving funding from 2010 through 2015 to provide evidence- or theory-based interventions to prevent and reduce the impact of children's exposure to violence in their homes and communities. The sites are implementing interventions that address the needs of children and youth who have been exposed to violence and their families through comprehensive and collaborative approaches that use the current knowledge base to address children's exposure to violence.