24-HOUR CRISIS LINE 901-800-6064

Children Exposed to Violence

The little ones hurt too.

FSC serves as one of the primary doors for children exposed to violence in the home to access a network of coordinated services available in Shelby County through the Defending Childhood Initiative/NOVA, as well as serving as the outreach arm for DCI provider networks in the targeted DCI communities. Learn more about the Defending Childhood Initiative and how exposure to violence affects children at Defending Childhood Shelby.

One in four women and one in seven men in our community will be the victim of domestic violence in their lifetime. National research indicates that children are present for roughly half of these reported incidents. In as many as 80% of these cases, children are directly present to see and hear the abuse. When exposed to family violence, ⅓ of these children will grow up to become an abuser and another ⅓ will grow up to become a victim. Often victims of domestic violence believe that staying for the children is best, but this research demonstrates that exposure to violence can cause lifelong trauma and harm.


Because domestic violence is a cycle that passes on to the next generation if not broken, it is crucial to teach children that abuse is not okay and address exposure to trauma before it is too late.

When young children experience chronic exposure to adverse events, the effect is toxic. Research and the ongoing ACE Study findings show these “adverse childhood experiences” and the resulting “toxic stress” undermine a child’s mental, physical and behavioral health, and persist throughout adulthood. For the purpose of the ACE Survey, adverse childhood experiences include:

  • Abuse
  • Alcoholism in family systems
  • Child abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Dysfunctional family
  • Effects of domestic violence on children
  • Neglect
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Psychological abuse
  • Verbal abuse

According to the Task Force report, “Adverse Childhood Experiences in Shelby County Tennessee,” 52 percent of adults in Shelby County report having experienced at least one ACE. Individuals reporting four or more ACEs have heightened risk for negative adult social and health outcomes, such as repeating the cycle of family violence and exposing their own children to ACEs. The most prevalent ACEs in Shelby County are substance abuse, emotional abuse, and violence between adults in the home. In fact, rates of violence between adults are also higher in Shelby County (22%) than in Tennessee (19%) or nationally (16%).

Learn more about ACES.

Universal Parenting Places (UPP) are judgment-free zones where parents can receive professional counseling, information and emotional support for family-related issues or concerns, no matter how small. UPPs are administered by the ACE Awareness Foundation in partnership with Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women and Knowledge Quest. Learn more about UPP and how to receive services.

The Warm Launched in June 2016 and it is a collaborative effort between Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and the ACE Awareness Foundation. The Warm Line mirrors the in-person support services offered by Universal Parenting Places (UPP) which are made available in Shelby County.

For free advice on non-emergent parenting issues, you can contact Universal Parenting Places Warm Line. The Parent Support “Warm Line” is a free, live telephone line that connects parents with trained professionals who provide practical information, guidance, and emotional support. The goal of the Warm Line is to help parents navigate stressful situations in order to help young children and teens flourish physically, socially and emotionally. The Warm Line may be reached Monday-Friday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST.

844-UPP- Warm or 844-877-9276. Learn more about the Warm Line.