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Department of Justice Launches Changing Minds Campaign to Help Children Exposed to Violence
The White House and the Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a national campaign to raise awareness, teach skills, and inspire public action to address children's exposure to violence. The campaign, called Changing Minds, is a collaboration led by DOJ's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Futures Without Violence, the Ad Council, and the advertising agency Wunderman.

"An alarming percentage of America's children experience violence in their homes and communities, either directly as victims or indirectly as witnesses, and this exposure to trauma leaves deep wounds that can take years to heal," says White House Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson. "Changing Minds demonstrates that we can all play a role in reversing the effects of violence and help give our young people a fair shot at a bright future."

The new campaign is part of DOJ's Defending Childhood Initiative, launched in 2010 by then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. Defending Childhood funds grants, research, and public education aimed at preventing children's exposure to violence, mitigating its impact, and expanding knowledge about and awareness of the issue. The National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence found that 58% of children and youth in the United States were exposed to violence in the previous year. Almost one-half of children reported experiencing more than one type of direct or witnessed victimization. Exposure to violence is associated with a host of negative consequences, from poor performance in school and substance abuse to depression, chronic disease and future criminality. Research indicates that proper intervention, including support from caring adults, can help counter those effects.

"Violence is far too prominent in our children's lives, but it does not have to define their futures," says Holder. "We can curb the effects of trauma and restore our young people to wholeness and health, giving them the chance they all deserve to pursue their dreams."

Changing Minds features digital and print content intended to reach adults who interact with children and youth in kindergarten through grade 12. It will engage teachers, coaches, counselors, doctors, nurses, law enforcement officers, and other frontline professionals and caregivers, guiding them on ways they can help kids recover from trauma.

"The path of future health and success is determined at an early age," says Assistant Attorney General of DOJ's Office of Justice Programs Karol V. Mason. "The resources made available through Changing Minds show us the steps we can take to make sure that violence does not dictate the terms of a young person's life."

More information about Changing Minds can be found at ChangingMindsNOW.org.
Source: Department of Justice