Kids Exposed to Violence: More Than We Thought?

October 8, 2009
Jill taylor

As the media continues to ruminate on the tragic results of violence among youth in Chicago’s south side, I think it might be worth looking at violence in our society as a whole. A new study from the University of New Hampshire suggests that we have yet to really appreciate the amount of violence many children are exposed to.

Because heparin has been such a hot topic, I wanted to mention that as of October 1, we have a new reference standard and test method to determine the potency of heparin and detect impurities. The change results in an approximately 10% reduction in heparin potency in the U.S., which can be clinically significant in some treatment scenarios.

Whiplash! Just two months ago, we heard that the public option was all but dead; now, apparently, it is still on the table. It appears that the national conversation is as fluid as the mood of the country.

And, as the media continues to ruminate on the tragic results of violence among youth in Chicago’s south side, I think it might be worth looking at violence in our society as a whole. A new study from the University of New Hampshire suggests that we have yet to really appreciate the amount of violence many children are exposed to.

Data collected from 4,549 children in 2008 showed that three out of five were exposed to violence, abuse, or criminal victimization within a year.

Three out of five children. Sixty percent. Almost half of those children had experienced physical assault, and another 10 percent witnessed assault within their family. You can read more details in the current issue of Pediatrics, but personally, just this little bit of information causes me to feel disheartened.

Why does the population exposed to violence suddenly look a little bigger than previously? According to the researchers, it’s because the type of exposures included in the study went beyond individual crimes, looking also at problems such as sexual abuse, bullying, or maltreatment at the hands of a caretaker.

Perhaps we need to think about safer schools, homes, and recreational areas not only in Chicago, but in communities across the nation?