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Violence continues in the lives of many young victims

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

According to a new study from the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, young victims are frequently attacked again, or lash out themselves in retaliation.

Researchers briefly interviewed adolescent emergency room patients at Children’s Hospital, and asked them to take part in telephone surveys over the next 8 weeks. Prof. Douglas Wiebe of the University of Pennsylvania says the 42 patients who participated in the study reported high levels of violence in their lives after their injury:

Wiebe: Eighteen percent had been beaten up since they left the Emergency Room 21 percent had beaten someone else up, 3 percent had shot or stabbed someone, and 3 percent had been shot or stabbed.

Wiebe says the study demonstrates the need to connect young victims to resources to help prevent further violence.

Dr. John Rich at Drexel University studies violence in the lives of at-risk young people, and is part of a Philadelphia program called “Healing Hurt People”. He says many victims view a violent incident as a wake-up call:

Rich: So we have a little bit of a moment of opportunity we didn’t create that moment of opportunity as healthcare providers we simply encounter it, but why wouldn’t we want to use that as an opportunity to enhance the growth of young people.

“Healing Hurt People” educates young victims of violence about post traumatic stress, and helps them make positive changes in their lives.

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