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Living with trauma: impact of police killings on the lives of the family and Community of Child and Teen Victims


Youth homicide by police in the U.S. remain a public health and safety concern. The purpose of this paper was to understand the impact of police killings on the lives of the family and community of youth victims. Participants were representative of 10 youth killed by police in 2016 and 2017 in seven cities and three states in Northeast U.S., including New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. Thirty-five adults participated in this research. This study utilized an in-depth interview design, along with in-depth and public interviews for data collection. Grounded theory approaches were used for data analysis. Findings produced several major themes surrounding the experiences of survivors of youth homicide by police, including living with trauma, meaning of state violence, holding police accountable, and limited resources and support following police killings. These themes were indicative of the mental, emotional, and social challenges experienced by survivors of youth homicide by police. Implications for service providers and researchers who work with families and communities of youth victims of police homicide are discussed.

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Data Availability

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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Correspondence to Rafael L. Outland.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (College at Brockport, State University of New York, IRB ID: STUDY00000891) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Outland, R.L., Noel, T., Rounsville, K. et al. Living with trauma: impact of police killings on the lives of the family and Community of Child and Teen Victims. Curr Psychol 41, 7059–7073 (2022).

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  • Children and teens
  • Police violence
  • Extrajudicial killings
  • Trauma
  • Qualitative research
  • Mental health