Youth violence has long been a major challenge for American police chiefs, schools, and municipal leaders. An enduring threat, it undermines the public safety and economic health of cities across the nation.
The term "youth violence" covers a broad spectrum of behaviors. Some violent acts, such as bullying, pushing, and shoving can cause children emotional and physical harm, with negative effects that can last well into adulthood. Other forms of youth violence, such as gang violence and assault, can lead to serious injuries or even death.
There are as many as 33,000 gun-related deaths every year in the United States, and youth 24 and younger represent about 20 percent of those who die from gun violence. Even youth who are not hurt or killed by guns but who witness gun violence are likely to experience adverse outcomes later in life.
Teen dating violence is a widespread issue that can lead to serious short- and long-term effects. Examples of teen dating violence include physical and emotional harm, as well as stalking. Once a teen experiences violence in one relationship, research has shown that they are at a significant risk of experiencing violence in another relationship.
Violence in schools not only affects the individuals involved, but it can also disrupt the education process and negatively affect the school itself, as well as the surrounding community. Research has shown that children victimized in school are more prone to skipping school, poor academic performance, dropping out, and violent behaviors.
Young victims of crime are generally underserved, and the systems responsible for caring for them can be fragmented and ineffective for youth and their families. The Office for Victims of Crime is committed to improving the services for all victims of crime, including those exposed to different forms of violence.
To help communities reduce and prevent youth violence, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has funded key initiatives and, working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has constructed a framework for action. Additionally, the National Institute of Justice supports research that strives to understand and reduce the occurrence and impact of violence. And, through CrimeSolutions.gov, provides evaluations of programs and practices meant to prevent violence and provide services to those impacted by exposure to violence.
The pages of this Special Feature contain publications and resources related to youth violence and the prevention of such violence. Select a page from the "Youth Violence" box for information and resources produced or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs and other federal sources.