1. I. Introduction (10m)
  2. II. Violence Reporting (40m)
  3. III. Violence Storytelling (10m)

Violence Guide

Issues: Introduction

Violence encompasses a broad range of issues, many of them complex and interconnected. Here are some topics that currently dominate the headlines – and some guidance on covering them from a solutions perspective.

Childhood Trauma

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) include emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, and physical and emotional neglect. Such experiences are magnified in poverty-stricken neighborhoods with a propensity for violence.

Gun Violence

Before guns, there were other weapons – fists, clubs, knives, and many more. But the presence of guns is what makes violent impulses exponentially more dangerous.

Mental Health

Although studies show that just 4% of violent crimes can be attributed to mental illness, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that people with severe mental illness are 10 times more likely to become victims of violence. The fragmented mental health system is poorly prepared to deal with the problem.

Police Use of Force

Officers use force for many reasons, in many contexts – often in self-defense, or in the defense of others. But episodes in the last few years have cast a light on the use of force for other reasons, and on excessive force while making arrests or confronting tense situations.

Domestic Violence

Six percent of women and 5 percent of men reported being stalked, raped or assaulted in the previous 12 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, primarily by past or present partners. That violence can tear families apart.

School Discipline

Schools lack resources and procedures to deal effectively with kids who are in crisis. When students act out, and there aren’t enough counselors, it’s a quick trip to the principal’s office, which may lead to suspension, expulsion, or dropping out.


“The solutions component is providing a way to involve the now-more-interested public in a richer conversation about something more than enforcement. We have scheduled a public forum at a local college, which is paying for it, where I will do a one-on-one videotaped conversation with the police chief about their enforcement methods. The sense among our local elected officials, from the mayor to city council people, is that Part 1 has opened doors that need to be opened for a larger conversation that goes beyond the need for more cops on the streets.”

Donna Ladd
Jackson Free Press
Violence Reporting

Issue: Childhood Trauma