Futures Without Violence, in partnership with the Department of Justice, announced Wednesday the launch of the first national campaign that will raise awareness, teach skills, and inspire public action to address children’s exposure to violence and childhood trauma.
The multi-year “Changing Minds” campaign will motivate teachers, coaches, counselors, health professionals, law enforcement officers, and others who regularly interact with children to take meaningful action in supporting children who may be affected.
“Violence is far too prominent in our children’s lives, but it does not have to define their futures,” said former Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. “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.”
The U.S. Department of Justice, Futures Without Violence, and the Ad Council have released the national education campaign, created pro bono by the advertising agency Wunderman, that features two original videos exploring the personal stories of adults who were exposed as children to violence in their homes and neighborhoods. They have also produced an informational video that explores the impact of violence on the brain development of children.
The U.S. Department of Justice and Futures Without Violence, a national health and social justice nonprofit organization working to end violence against women and children, have been partners ever since the Department released the findings of the first National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence in 2009.
In 2010, the Department launched the national Defending Childhood initiative, created to prevent children’s exposure to violence as victims and witnesses, mitigate its impact, and develop knowledge about and increase awareness of this issue.
Exposure to violence during childhood is significantly correlated with adverse health, educational, and social outcomes later in life such as mental illness, poverty, and involvement in the justice system.
New and evolving brain science reveals that a child’s positive and negative experiences can literally shape, and reshape, the brain: therefore one of the most significant predictors of a child’s resiliency in the face of trauma is consistent interaction with a caring and supportive adult.
“The Changing Minds campaign has an empowering message,” said Esta Soler, founder and president of Futures Without Violence. “We want to reach millions of caring adults with the good news that fostering stable, supportive relationships can help children who have been exposed to violence and trauma.”
The Changing Minds campaign has produced a toolkit with video, digital and print content intended to reach adults who interact with children K-12, including teachers, coaches, health professionals, law enforcement officers, social workers and guidance counselors.
A new campaign website will provide resources and tips on how to support children who have been affected by violence.