For years, research has found violence is learned behavior. The Howard University Violence Prevention Project (HUVPP) suggests children’s exposure to community violence can predict their social and emotional behavior, both in school and at home. In other words, the more elementary school children are exposed to community violence, the more likely they will have adjustment problems.
The research indicates violence is not a random, uncontrollable or inevitable occurrence. Instead, many factors–systemic, social, political and individual—contribute to an individual’s propensity to use violence, and many of these factors can be changed. An American Psychological Association study suggests youngsters who engage in violence tend to share common risk factors that place them on a trajectory towards violence early in life. In addition to actual physical victimization, these factors include witnessing violence at home and in the neighborhood.