Defending Childhood: Protect Heal Thrive by the Attorney General's National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence, US Department of Justice (December 2012)
This final report and policy recommendations from Attorney General Eric Holder's Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence was gathered from public hearings held across the country throughout 2012. The report includes 56 recommendations and highlights the importance of identifying children who are victims or witnesses of violence and providing support and services to help them heal. It focuses on developing programs to help children access supportive and non-violent relationships with trusted adults in their homes and communities. The task force also calls for all children who enter the juvenile justice system to be screened for exposure to violence.
It is time to ensure that our nations past inadequate response to childrens exposure to violence does not negatively affect childrens lives any further. We must not allow violence to deny any children their right to physical and mental health services or to the pathways necessary for maturation into successful students, productive workers, responsible family members, and parents and citizens.
We can stem this epidemic if we commit to a strong national response. The long-term negative outcomes of exposure to violence can be prevented, and children exposed to violence can be helped to recover. Children exposed to violence can heal if we identify them early and give them specialized services, evidence-based treatment, and proper care and support. We have the power to end the damage to children from violence and abuse in our country; it does not need to be inevitable.