Violence Prevention

Portland Defending Childhood is an initiative funded through the U.S. Department of Justice working to prevent children’s exposure to violence and reduce the trauma experienced by children who experienced violence. We offer information, training, a coordinated information, education and referral network, and evidence-based treatment for those who have been exposed violence.



The vision of Portland Defending Childhood is to create a community in which children thrive, are protected from exposure to violence, and can grow up to lead healthy and productive lives. To facilitate this vision, using a public health, population-based model, Portland Defending Childhood employs a three-pronged approach to decreasing children’s exposure to violence: prevention, intervention, and treatment. To the extent possible, services are evidence-based and delivered by multiple agencies throughout the City of Portland.


Portland Defending Childhood supports a growing collaboration of child-serving agencies in the greater Portland area and is implemented in partnership between the City of Portland’s Public Health Division and Community Counseling Center.

Portland Defending Childhood is a coalition of organizations led by The City of Portland Public Health Division, Community Counseling Center and The Violence Intervention Partnership.


Portland Defending Childhood seeks to:
  • Create a coordinated information and referral network of violence prevention, intervention, and treatment resources
  • Provide evidenced-based treatment for children ages 0-18 who have been exposed to violence and,
  • Provide free training to the community about signs, symptoms, and strategies for working with children and families who have experienced violence in their lives. Witnessing or experiencing violence can overwhelm children and teenagers and lead to problems in their daily lives


Some examples of violent events may include:
  • Domestic / Community Violence
  • Bullying
  • War Violence
  • Child Maltreatment
  • Physical Violence
  • Sexual Violence
  • Dating Violence

Signs & Symptoms of Childhood Exposure to Violence

  • Sleep troubles, nightmares, fear of falling asleep
  • Headaches, stomach aches, aches and pains
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Withdrawing from friends and activities
  • Not showing feelings about anything
  • Increased activity or aggression
  • Loss of skills learned earlier
  • Increased worry or depression
  • Substance abuse, dangerous behaviors, or unhealthy sexual activity in teenagers
This project is supported by Grant No. 2011-JW-FX-K162 awarded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Dept. of Justice. Points of view or opinions in the document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice