• June 2002
  • Vol. 3, No. 5

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Children Who See Too Much: Lessons from the Child Witness to Violence Project

Groves, Betsy McAlister. Beacon Press. Boston, MA. 2002. 179 pp. $24.00. Hardcover.

Children may be exposed to any number of violent events in their lives, but traumatic events involving family members carry the most severe psychological risks. Until fairly recently, research on the psychological impact of domestic violence on adults had neglected the consequences of their children's exposure to violence. The Child Witness to Violence Project (CWVP) at Boston Medical Center's Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics has served children traumatized by violence since 1992. Challenging the myth that children do not remember early life events and suffer no lasting effects, Groves demonstrates that family violence can damage the developing brains of very young children, leading to adverse emotional, cognitive, and physiological changes that will affect them throughout their lives. According to CWVP's website, the Program's goals include:

  • Identifying young children who witness acts of significant violence
  • Helping young children heal from the trauma of witnessing violence by providing developmentally appropriate counseling for them, and for their families
  • Providing consultation and training to the network of caregivers in the lives of young children so they may more effectively help those exposed to violence.

Intervention strategies may comprise family and individual therapy, as well as community-wide treatment approaches. An appendix and a list of resource contacts are included.

To purchase a copy, contact:

Beacon Press
25 Beacon St.
Boston, MA 02108-2892
Phone: 617-742-2110
Fax: 617-723-3097
Website: http://www.beacon.org

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