Violence occurs at multiple levels. It may be experienced personally by an individual (e.g., sexual abuse) through interactions with peers, family, and others, and it may be a feature of the neighbourhood in which they live (e.g., high levels of crime/disorder). Multiple different forms of violence often converge, creating interconnected experiences that normalise violence with cumulative effects on mental health. Existing research has typically focused on the different types of violence and abuse that have been experienced personally by an individual but have ignored the wider social context of violence in which these take place.
Fortunately, not everyone who is exposed to violence develops mental health problems. Understanding factors that protect against poor mental health among adolescents exposed to violence is essential to inform interventions to mitigate its effects.