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Social violence affects children at different levels and in many ways – physically, socially and emotionally.

They are more likely to experience severe, uncontrollable and chronic stress, which affects their ability to react to stressful situations. If children are in a constant state of fear, they become sensitive to external stimuli (e.g., sounds) and have trouble bouncing back from negative feelings.    

Over time, these reactions can lead to mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. They can also lead to health, social and school problems, and can make children more likely to engage in risky behaviours (e.g., aggression, substance abuse) throughout childhood and adulthood. 

It’s clear that violence is harmful to children. Every effort should be made to shelter children from it and to find effective ways to support those who have been exposed to it.