You Can Be The Difference
Children affected by a homicide may suffer from the same stresses endured by victims of violence, regardless of whether they’ve actually witnessed the crime or have seen the body. There is help available. If you see signs of trauma in a child you know or in your care, do something about it. One caring, supportive adult can make the difference in the resiliency of a child. You can be the support. You can be the difference.
Effects of a Traumatic Event
Children who witness homicide or lose a loved one to homicide can suffer from traumatic grief. This means that even if the child was not physically hurt or involved in the event, they can still be psychologically affected by what they have seen or heard.
Common Reactions to a Homicide or Other Violent Crime
- Prolonged crying and sadness
- Nightmares and difficulty sleeping
- Nausea or headaches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Disorientation and confusion
- Emotional detachment
- Acting out emotionally
These reactions are normal and may continue for days, weeks, or even months or years. Even if children are not direct witnesses of the violence, they can still suffer the same traumatic stresses as victims. These reactions may appear quickly or over time, but the most effective way to help minimize any long-term effects is to contact BCAC as soon as possible after the event.
How BCAC Can Help
BCAC offers services to help children who have witnessed or have been affected by a homicide. These services can include:
A Family Advocate can speak with you directly to discuss your needs. The Family Advocate will work with you on an ongoing basis to help your child and family access services and assistance that may be helpful for you. These services can include referrals for therapy, financial assistance, burial assistance, support groups, and more.
BCAC partners with the Family Bereavement Center to offer therapy services with our Child Witness Therapist, who is specially trained to help children heal through the grief process.
If you are interested in any services or have any questions, please contact BCAC at 410-396-6147.
- Trauma-Informed Care for Children Exposed to Violence: Tips for Parents and Other Caregivers (Safe Start/Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention)
- What to Say When Someone You Know Is Grieving (Children’s Grief Awareness Day)
- A Guide to Caregiving Following a Stressful Event (University of Maryland School of Medicine)
The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention funded this project under subaward number ICAC-2019-0004. All points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position of any State or Federal agency.