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Community violence is exposure to intentional acts of interpersonal violence committed in public areas by individuals who are not intimately related to the victim. Common types of community violence that affect youth include individual and group conflicts (e.g., bullying, fights among gangs and other groups, shootings in public areas such as schools and communities, civil wars in foreign countries or “war-like” conditions in US cities, spontaneous or terrorist attacks). Although people can anticipate some types of traumatic events, community violence can happen suddenly and without warning. Consequently, youth and families who live with community violence often have heightened fears that harm could come at any time and experience the world as unsafe and terrifying. In addition, although some types of trauma are accidental, community violence is an intentional attempt to hurt one or more people and includes homicides, sexual assaults, robberies, and weapons attacks (e.g., bats, knives, guns).
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