About Defending Childhood
More than 60 percent of children surveyed were exposed to violence, crime, or abuse within the past year, either directly (as victims) or indirectly (as witnesses)—many in their own homes. Repeated exposure to trauma and violence can disrupt brain development and increase the risk of serious illness, psychological issues, and dangerous behavior later in life.
In 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder launched the groundbreaking Defending Childhood Initiative to address a national crisis: the exposure of America’s children to violence as victims and as witnesses. The program, which currently operates in eight sites throughout the country, has developed strategic plans for comprehensive community-based efforts that will further demonstrate the goals of this initiative.
Building on programs such as Safe Start, the Child Development-Community Policing Program, and the Greenbook Initiative, Defending Childhood leverages existing resources across the Department of Justice to focus on preventing, addressing, reducing, and more fully understanding childhood exposure to violence.
The eight grantee communities of the Defending Childhood Initiative include: