About Us

Online Training Title

Online Training Lesson #8: Fast Facts on Children’s Exposure to Violence

Useful Fast Facts

Fast Facts on Children's Exposure to Violence

  • According to the Children’s Defense Fund (1995) a day in the life of American     children includes:
    • 9 children being murdered;
    • 30 children wounded by guns;
    • 3 children dying from child abuse;
    • 27 children dying from poverty;
    • 2,350 children residing in adult jails;
    • 307 children arrested for crimes of violence;
    • 5,703 teenagers becoming victims of violent crime; and
    • 2,355 teenagers dropping out of school.
  • Current estimates indicate that as many as 10 million children have witnessed or been victims of violence in their homes or communities (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention 2001);
  • Exposure to violence shapes how children remember, learn and feel.  It has also been significantly linked to increased depression, anxiety, anger and alcohol and drug abuse and with decreased academic achievement (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention 2001);
  • In Canada, 37 percent of women and men who reported they were assaulted by a spouse also reported that their children had heard or seen the violence take place (Statistics Canada June 2003);
  • Research shows that children who have witnessed family violence may be more likely to approve of the use of violence for conflict resolution and are more likely to display violent behaviour themselves (Statistics Canada June 2003);
  • According to the 1993 Canadian Violence Against Women Survey, men who witnessed their mothers being physically abused by their fathers as children were three times more likely to be violent in their own marital relationships than men who grew up in non-violent homes;
  • Women who witnessed inter-parental violence also have a higher likelihood of using violence against their own spouses or dating partners, and those who witnessed their mothers being abused are more likely to have low self-esteem as adults and are significantly more likely to suffer from abuse in their own marital relationships (Statistics Canada June 2003);
  • In 1998-99, approximately 378,000 children between the ages of 6 and 11 in Canada had witnessed violence in the home at some point in their lives.  This constitutes approximately 17 percent of the population in this age group (Statistics Canada June 2003);
  • Approximately 32 percent of children who witnessed violence at home are reported to have high aggressive behaviour compared with 16 percent of other children in the sample (Statistics Canada June 2003);
  • Children’s exposure to violence is not confined to one part of their lives, but rather it can occur in several areas simultaneously, such as in their family, at school and in their community (Canadian Council on Social Development 2003);
  • Research indicates that: 

    • 1 out of every 7 children (14 percent) under the age of 12 is a victim of bullying once a week or more;
    • The average child sees 12,000 violent acts on television each year, including many depictions of murder and rape;
    • The average Canadian child watches 23 hours of television each week, and some children watch up to five hours daily;
    • In 1998, almost two-thirds of Canadian teens aged 14 to 15 and over 56 percent of those aged 12 to 13 often or sometimes watched television shows or movies that were violent;
    • Forty of the 47 most popular Nintendo video games had violence as the main theme;
    • Research on music videos indicates that more than 50 percent contain violence -  most often directed towards women – and up to 75 percent contain sexually explicit materials; and we know that children and adolescents in the United States watch an average of 30 minutes to two hours of music videos daily

(Canadian Council on Social Development 2003)