When Kids Are Victims of Crime

Kids Matter Inc.’s goal is to help children heal their lives and spirits as well as their physical injuries. We can help educate you about the common effects crime has on a child and what you as a caregiver can do to help them heal.

Physical Abuse

Long after the bruises have faded, physically abused children often have behavior and emotional challenges. Abuse may harm a child’s ability to trust or form attachments. The constant stress of ongoing abuse can make the child see the whole world as dangerous and uncaring. Learn more.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse includes fondling, sex and showing pornographic images to a child. Sometimes a child will be physically hurt during the act, but even if there are no marks a child can be traumatized by sexual abuse. A child who was sexually abuse may be afraid, anxious, depressed or angry. Younger children who have been sexually abuse may have poor self-esteem and difficulty with close relationships. Older children and teenagers may act out their hurt by using drugs and alcohol or having sex. Learn more.


Neglect is the most common form of child maltreatment. Neglect is when a parent, guardian or other caregiver does not provide for a child’s basic needs. Neglect includes not providing food, shelter, supervision, health care, schooling, affection or support. Neglected children may have low self-esteem, problems in school or issues with anger and attachment. Learn more.

Children Who Witness Crime

Witnessing violence is a traumatic experience for children. It is especially traumatic if the crime is committed by or against someone they love. Between 3 and 10 million children will witness domestic violence in the United States this year. Forty to sixty percent of families that have violence between adults in the household also report child abuse. However, even if a child is not physically harmed, there can be lasting effects of domestic violence.

Most children who witness a violent crime experience something similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They can have trouble learning, building relationships, and controlling their aggression. Witnessing violence also can dampen a child’s natural curiosity and make them afraid to try new things. Young children are just as likely to be affected by and remember violence that they witness as older children and adults.

Homicide Survivors

For every person who is murdered, loved ones are left behind who depended on that person. Children of homicide victims struggle to deal with the loss. As children, they may deal with the grief of losing a loved one very differently than an adult. Children often need special help dealing with their loss. A child’s response to the death of a loved one is influenced by their stage of development. Learn more.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a devastating social problem that impacts all segments of society and can have a profound impact on children. Home should be a safe place. For too many children, home is a place of conflict among grown-ups. Sometimes children get caught up in the violence and are physically harmed. Other times, children are emotionally scarred by witnessing domestic violence. Often, people think that children are safe if the violence in the home is not directed at the children. Recent research indicates that exposure to family violence can have long-term consequences. Children exposed to domestic violence are at higher risk of abuse and neglect than children in peaceful homes. Learn more.

This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Kids Matter Inc.

Join Email List

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.