Violence has long-term effects on children - FOX 32 News Chicago

Violence has long-term effects on children

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A 4-year-old girl was shot in the leg on the Northwest Side Sunday night. Police say the girl was in a car near Central and Hutchinson when someone opened fire on the car.

She's expected to recover, but many young victims of Chicago violence still carry the mental and physical scars long after they're on the news.

In fact, after we report that a child is recovering from being shot, the healing process is just beginning. Doctors say being a victim--or even knowing the victim of a crime at a young age--can have long lasting impacts.

It's a topic we don't often discuss in the media: the mental impact that comes along with being a victim of a gun crime. Children over the course of the summer are all too often the innocent bystanders caught in the middle of gangs cross hairs.

The chief child psychiatrist at Rush University Medical Center has advice for parents of children that have gone through or have known someone involved in a violent crime.

"Every child is different. Some kids are going to be incredible in reacting to stress and really do quite well, not need any interventions and there are other kids that it might look relatively minor," Dr. Louis Kraus explains. "They might not have even have been in view of it, but they see it and they know what's happened and they become very fearful and parents need to be aware of that."

Dr. Kraus adds that parents should keep an open dialogue with their children. He also says to keep an eye on that child's siblings or even friends. Just because the young victim may be on the mend, those close to the child can sometimes be just as affected, if not more so than the victim.

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