Bystanders to Violence: The Child Witness

A child bystander to violence, unlike an adult, is held hostage by violence almost every time they witness it because they are helpless to stop it. Dr. Lynn Somerstein is of the belief that domestic and public violence are so prevalent that the witnessing of that violence is a public health problem for children and that a family who exposes their children to violence is guilty of neglect and abuse, even if the child is not physically harmed by it. There are three categories of effects that violence has on children. The first is behavioral and emotional, the second is cognitive functioning and attitudes, and the final category is longer-term.

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