This study deals with violence committed against children and adolescents, based on a review of the literature, in order to support an aproach to this problem by the field of public health. It demonstrates that violence has been present since the beginning of history, and that children have sometimes been the victims and sometimes the aggressors. The article presents Brazilian data from the 1980s and 1990s, dealing with morbidity and mortality and specifying multiple forms of violence. It calls attention to prevention as the focus for the future and as a present reality in some countries. It also emphasizes the need for awareness-raising, reporting, and rehabilitation for cases of violence.
Violence; Children; Adolescents; Morbidity; Mortality