Youth violence refers to the intentional use of physical force or power by youth against another person or group that is likely to result in injury or death.
Youth violence is the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24. Each year, about 5600 youth homicides occur in the United States. These deaths are only part of the problem. Young people seek medical care for violence-related injuries, some of which can lead to lasting disabilities.
Those who engage in youth violence may engage in other risky health behavior, such as substance use, or become victims themselves. Some youth are afraid to go to school because they feel unsafe. The health of communities is also negatively affected by youth violence. It can increase the cost of healthcare, reduce productivity, decrease property values, and disrupt social services.
Youth violence is preventable. Prevention efforts should address all levels that influence youth violence – the individual, relationship, community, and society. Strategies that support families, teach social development, and offer mentoring to youth are crucial to stopping youth violence before it begins.