"Children around the world are all too often exposed to violence that is both intentional and harmful. Numerous examples of such violence exist in the United States. School shootings have traumatized many children as victims and as witnesses. The U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) documents 3,200-4,600 nonfamilial abductions each year. The USDOJ also reports that approximately 400,000 refugee survivors of torture currently live in the United States, a significant portion of which are children. The recent hostage-taking and shooting of Amish children in Pennsylvania remind us that torture occurs in the U.S. as well as in other countries. Like adults, children demonstrate various stress responses as a result of exposure to traumatic events. Studies examining the impact of war, natural disasters, and terrorism highlight the negative consequences of violence on children's development and on their psychological health. Certain traumatic events, such as kidnapping, shooting and torture present even greater challenges to children and communities. Three factors distinguish these traumas from other forms of violence and make them particularly toxic: 1) victims are typically held against their will, 2) the injury is intentional and personally directed and 3) pain is often inflicted for the purposes of punishment, coercion or perpetrator pleasure."
Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress: http://www.centerforthestudyoftraumaticstress.org