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     Defending Childhood

National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence Public Hearings

As part of the Department of Justice’s Defending Childhood Initiative, Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence held four public hearings to gather expert and community testimony on the epidemic of children’s exposure to violence.  The hearings were held in Baltimore, Maryland, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Miami, Florida, and Detroit, Michigan. Transcripts from those meetings are listed below.

The task force members were composed of 13 leading experts from diverse fields and perspectives, including practitioners, child and family advocates, academic experts and licensed clinicians. Joe Torre, Chairman of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation™, Major League Baseball Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, and a witness of domestic violence as a child himself; and Robert L. Listenbee, Jr., J.D., Chief of the Juvenile Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, co-chaired of the task force.

The task force identified promising practices, programming, and community strategies used to prevent and respond to children’s exposure to violence and issued a final report to the Attorney General in December 2012 presenting its findings and comprehensive policy recommendations. The task force report includes 56 recommendations and highlights the importance of identifying children who are victims or witnesses of violence and providing support and services to help them heal. It focuses on developing programs to help children access supportive and non-violent relationships with trusted adults in their homes and communities. The task force also calls for all children who enter the juvenile justice system to be screened for exposure to violence.

Baltimore, Maryland Hearing
November 29–30, 2011
Hearing 1: Understanding the Scope of Children’s Exposure to Violence
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law


Albuquerque, New Mexico Hearing
January 30–February 1, 2012
Hearing 2: Children's Exposure to Violence in Rural and Tribal Communities
Albuquerque City Council Chambers


Miami, Florida Hearing
March 19–21, 2012
Hearing 3: Children's Exposure to Violence in the Community
University of Miami Newman Alumni Center

Miami Transcripts:

Detroit, Michigan Hearing
April 23–25, 2012
Hearing 4: Protect, Heal Thrive
Wayne State University

Detroit Transcripts: