Children, like adults, can directly experience or be witness to interpersonal violence either within or outside the family, on one or repeated occasions. Intra-familial violence may result in the death or serious disablement of a parent or child, or may be experienced as child sexual abuse or chronic domestic violence. Non-familial violence includes urban violence now endemic in some communities, war and civil conflict, and vicarious violence such as in films and on television. Traumatic events can also occur by natural forces, for example, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes. This review will focus mainly on the effects on children of witnessing severe or repeated violence, sometimes resulting in death, occurring to a member of their family, perpetrated either by a parent, step-parent or cohabitee or by a person or persons unrelated to them, although it will draw on studies of other traumatic experiences where relevant.