Why Act Now

can matter for a lifetime

It is estimated that 1,700 children in Grand Forks County suffer from significant trauma.

Without help, they may pass on the impact of that trauma to their own children, and the number of traumatized individuals will compound, at great cost to families and our community.

Click to watch this 14-minute video on the impact of violence on children.
Used with permission from Futures Without Violence.

Impaired brain development

Early trauma, such as exposure to violence, can leave a lasting imprint on a child’s brain. When children feel unsafe, the part of the brain that normally helps them to bond, learn to talk and engage with others is instead focused on survival. This can cause neurochemical changes that impair children’s ability to cope, function and learn. Young children are most vulnerable to the effects of trauma. At CVIC’s shelter last year, nearly half of children fleeing violence with their mothers were ages 5 or younger. With shelter, mothers can take their children out of the traumatic environment and give them a healthy start at life.

Difficulty in school

Exposure to violence makes it harder for children to learn, as their minds are consumed with what will happen to their parent who is being abused or with how to make sense of the abuse that may have happened to them. They are in great need of intervention that helps them to heal from the trauma. Without this kind of help, studies show that kids with significant trauma are at a much greater risk of failing in school than are kids without such trauma:

  • 3 times increased rate of academic failure
  • 5 times higher rate of missed attendance
  • 6 times increased rate of severe school behavior concerns

Risky behaviors

Traumatized children may become hyper-vigilant, impulsive and aggressive, acting out in ways that can get them in trouble at school or suspended. That can further lead to engaging in risky behaviors that impact their health, such as drinking, smoking or taking drugs. Studies also show a strong link between exposure to violence and juvenile delinquency. Trauma-informed therapies can teach children positive ways of coping, such as mindfulness and breathing exercises to calm themselves and build resilience. Without intervention, these kids face dire consequences:

  • 7 times increased rate of alcoholism
  • 4.7 times increased rate of illicit drug use

Lifelong health problems, suicide attempt, and early death

Childhood trauma is directly linked to disease and chronic illness, impacting the rest of children’s lives. Without trauma-informed intervention, these kids are also at high risk for attempting suicide and dying many years before their time.

  • 2.2 times increased rate of heart disease
  • 2.4 times increased rate of stroke
  • 12 times increased rate of suicide attempt
  • Reduced life expectancy of up to 20 years


You see why we can’t wait.


We can provide life-giving therapy to 27 children and adults traumatized by violence each day.

This year:

We can provide therapy to 195 children and adults to heal the hurt and give them hope for a healthy future.

In 10 years:

We can reach all 1,700 traumatized children and a growing number of adults by hiring more therapists and training other local therapists in evidence-based therapies.

 If we act now, we will realize:

Healthier children and families
as children and adults heal and pass on
healthy habits to their own children

Improved educational outcomes
and employment opportunities

A more vibrant and prosperous community
as children and adults succeed and
fewer resources are spent on fixing the problem
(Prevention can save up to $31 for every $1 spent
on intervention.)

Preventing violence. Promoting safety. Building hope.  

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