National Youth Education Project
OVC recognizes the importance of developing a national public awareness and education initiative that focuses on victimization among adolescents, an age group at risk for myriad forms of violence, including child abuse, dating violence, sexual victimization, school bullying, and gang-related violence. Recent research indicates that witnessing violence has a long-lasting impact on children and adolescents. These children are at higher risk for behavioral problems such as chronic delinquency and academic failure. They are more likely to become involved in adult criminal behavior and drug-related offenses later in life than children who grow up in nonviolent surroundings.
In this light, OVC competitively awarded funding to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) for development of youth-led public awareness campaigns on teen victimization. During the first year of the project, called Youth Outreach for Victim Assistance (YOVA), NCPC and its partner, the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC), competitively selected 20 sites to develop public awareness campaigns on issues concerning youth victimization. The YOVA sites' campaigns included a variety of projects and activities, including school and community workshops, radio and television public service announcements, poster campaigns, and Web sites. With continuation funding, NCPC and NCVC have selected 20 new sites and 10 returning mentor sites to continue raising teens' awareness of victimization issues. Youth organizations, especially those in school settings, can play a central role in educating adolescents about the dynamics of victimization and in providing accurate guidance on where to turn for help and support.