In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Children and Violence

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Journals
  • Bullying in Schools
  • Infanticide
  • Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation
  • Gang Violence
  • Girls in Gangs
  • Juvenile Homicide
  • School Shootings
  • Violence Against Street Children
  • Violence in the Media
  • Witnessing Domestic Violence

Related Articles Expand or collapse the "related articles" sectionabout

Forthcoming Articles Expand or collapse the "forthcoming articles" section

Childhood Studies Children and Violence
Karen Wells
  • LAST REVIEWED: 23 March 2012
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 March 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791231-0005


Violence is an everyday experience for many, perhaps most, children. The recognition that children routinely face violence at home, at school, and in their neighborhoods is being increasingly acknowledged by academics, practitioners, and policymakers. Child protection has long been concerned with the risk of violence to children in their families, but children are also at risk of violence from their peers. Children are victims as well as perpetrators of violence. The experience of violence is gendered; girls are more likely to be at risk of sexual violence from boys and men, and boys are at risk of violence from other boys. Indeed, the investment of many boys in a cultural script that associates masculinity with violence may explain why boys are more at risk of violence as they transition to adulthood. The study of violence and childhood has been dominated by the fields of social work, psychology, and criminology, and surprisingly little work has been done in this field by scholars of childhood studies. A dominant narrative in these fields is concern about who the child/youth will become if he or she is exposed to violence or perpetrates violence. Separate OBO entries deal with violence against children in the form of War, Child Maltreatment, or Discipline and Punishment.

General Overviews

Pinheiro 2006, a UN study, is the best starting point for an overview on the place of violence in childhood. Dowd, et al. 2006 covers children as victims, consumers, and perpetrators of violence.

  • Dowd, Nancy E., Dorothy G. Singer, and Robin Fretwell Wilson, eds. Handbook of Children, Culture, and Violence. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2006.

    A comprehensive, multidisciplinary collection divided into three sections on children as victims, consumers, and perpetrators of violence.

  • Pinheiro, Paulo Sérgio de M. S. World Report on Violence against Children. Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations, 2006.

    This is a comprehensive review based on consultations, field trips, and public submissions of the extent and effects of violence against children in the home/family, at school, in the community, under supervisory care/justice systems, and at work.

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