Youth violence refers to harmful behaviors that can cause both emotional and physical harm. Youth violence is committed by or against a young person and can result in injury, death or psychological harm.
Drug or alcohol use, family issues and the negative influence of peers are just some of the factors that can increase the risk of a young person engaging in harmful or criminal behavior. Youth violence is harmful to an entire community. It affects the overall health of the population, decreases the value of property and disrupts essential services throughout communities.
Preventative rather than reactionary steps are necessary in the fight to help end youth violence, as it is important to protect and educate youth on the dangers and consequences. By stereotyping youthful offenders, future criminal behavior is encouraged and alternatives to a violence-free life are reduced.
The effects of youth violence can be seen in the community, in the health system, in the decreasing value of property and in the systemic violence that is passed down throughout generations. Nobody should feel scared to attend school, but in many places across the U.S., youth are missing out on school due to feeling unsafe. The most important and necessary steps in reducing youth violence across the country are prevention and intervention. With the proper education and awareness surrounding the effects of youth violence, a community can begin to reduce violence in their schools, at home and on the streets.