BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Some don’t survive it and those who do carry the memory for a lifetime.
Alex DeMetrick reports violence is taking a toll on the young, even as law enforcement struggles to contain it.
In Baltimore, violence claims children all too frequently. Stray bullets left a 5-year-old girl brain-damaged and a 13-year-old boy dead. A rapist dragged a 13-year-old girl into an abandoned house. These crimes all sparked outrage.
“Leave the babies alone. Give them a chance to grow up,” said neighbor Arthur Sharp.
Looking for a way to improve that chance is the job of a U.S. Department of Justice task force. Attorney General Eric Holder formed it. The chairman is Major League Baseball manager Joe Torre, who opened the task force’s first public hearing in Baltimore, with his memories of a violent father.
“Threatening my mom with a gun. The fear that my dad brought to my house in abusing my mom was very personal, very real,” Torre said.
“They experienced and saw the attack themselves,” said Rosa Almond.
Almond testified she was abused by her husband and worries what that will do to her children, especially her son.
“I fear he’ll grow up just like his dad and that’s something I don’t want, because his dad…his anger is just out of control,” Almond said.
Research indicates 60 percent of America’s children have been exposed to violence, crime or abuse—most often in the home.
“Kids need to know violence isn’t a secret we have to keep. We have to speak up for them and help them speak up for themselves,” Torre said.
Because the impact doesn’t just vanish like a crime scene.
After hearings around the country, the task force will present the programs and practices that have worked best in reducing children’s exposure to violence.